Bennett Hall – Corvallis Gazette Times – Enrollment at Oregon State University is up 2.4 percent over last year, but only a small fraction of that growth occurred in Corvallis.
Oregon State’s total enrollment is 30,592, university officials reported Monday, making OSU the largest university in the state.
Of the 534 additional students who signed up for classes this fall, however, only 83 are at the main campus. Total enrollment in Corvallis increased by just 0.3 percent, from 24,383 last year to 24,466 today.
That number is closely watched in Corvallis, where many residents have complained about livability issues caused by rising enrollment numbers. OSU President Ed Ray has promised to cap enrollment at 28,000 on the main campus.
“As Oregon’s statewide university, we take seriously our mandate to provide access to as many qualified in-state students as we can,” Ray said in a statement announcing the enrollment figures.
“At the same time, we are nearing our capacity on the Corvallis campus, and thus slowing our growth has been a priority.”
OSU has started a waiting list for prospective students who hand in application materials and tuition deposits after the April 15 deadline. While no qualified students have been turned away for this reason, some may take the waiting list as a cue to apply elsewhere, helping to hold the numbers down, OSU Vice President Steve Clark said.
“We have not changed our admission requirements,” Clark said. “We’re just using wait-listing as a tool.”
University officials say they have 5,110 students taking classes online through the Ecampus program, up 607 students, or 13.5 percent, from 4,503 at the same time last year.
And there are 1,016 students this fall at the OSU Cascades Campus in Bend, which is now offering four-year academic programs for the first time.
That’s a decrease of 156 from last fall, when the fledgling satellite campus tallied 1,172 students. But 192 of those students were part of a dual-enrollment program with Central Oregon Community College. Now that OSU Cascades is offering four-year programs, the dual-enrollment program has shrunk to just 113 students and OSU has decided to stop counting dual-enrolled students at COCC until they move into their upper-division classes at OSU Cascades.
University officials took those changes into account when calculating this year’s growth rates for overall enrollment in general and the satellite campus in particular, Clark explained, by subtracting the dual enrollment numbers from both the 2014 and 2015 tallies.
When the 192 dual-enrolled students are subtracted from last year’s total, the Cascades Campus is credited with 980 students for the 2014 fall term. Viewed in that light, the 1,016 students this year at the Bend campus (not counting the lower-division dual enrollees at COCC) equates to a 3.6 percent increase.
But if the dual-enrolled students are counted for both years, the result is a 3.8 percent enrollment drop for the Cascades Campus, from 1,172 to 1,129.
Interest in attending OSU Cascades diminished somewhat last year because of land-use appeals that delayed the start of new classroom, dormitory and dining buildings, Clark said, but enthusiasm seems to be reviving now that construction is underway.
“I don’t have concerns about the long-term growth” of OSU Cascades, Clark said.
The decision to stop counting dual-enrolled students as part of the Bend campus has no impact on the university’s Corvallis enrollment numbers, but it does change the big picture somewhat. Subtracting those students for 2014 gives OSU an overall enrollment of 29,866, 192 less than the 30,058 university officials announced last fall.
The lower number from 2014 was used in calculating the 2.4 percent growth rate for this fall.
Other highlights from the fall 2015 enrollment figures include:
• Minority enrollment is up 6.9 percent, from 6,320 in 2014 to 6,754 this fall.
• Three out of four undergrads on the Corvallis campus are Oregonians.
• 41.6 percent of entering freshmen from Oregon are considered “high achievers,” with high school grade-point averages of 3.75 or better.
• OSU now has 3,328 international students, 11.3 percent of overall enrollment. The number is up 3.9 percent from last year, a slower growth rate than 2014’s 12 percent increase or 2013’s 21 percent jump.
• The College of Engineering has the highest enrollment of any at OSU, with 8,205 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled this fall. The College of Liberal Arts is second with 3,905 students, followed by Science (3,526), Business (3,487), Public Health and Human Sciences (3,200) and Agricultural Sciences (2,610).
• The most popular major at Oregon State this fall is computer science, followed by business administration, mechanical engineering, kinesiology, and human development and family sciences.