UO enrollment rises less than 1 percent since last fall, OUS growing overall

In a year of record-high enrollment for the Oregon University System, the University of Oregon’s enrollment has increased by 144 students since fall of 2011, an increase of 0.6 percent, OUS announced Thursday morning.

While most Oregon universities showed a slight decline in enrollment this year, the Oregon Institute of Technology and Oregon State University increased in enrollment along with the UO. OSU showed a substantial increase of 26,393 new students, a 5.7 percent increase from fall 2011. OSU’s notable increase could be partially be due to a growth in high demand fields such as engineering.

Overall, Oregon universities saw 101,393 new students in fall of 2012. OUS also saw an increase in international and out-of-state students, with the UO, OSU and Portland State University accounting for most of the change.

According to Bob Kieran, associate vice chancellor for institutional research and planning, the UO has experienced a 17.5 percent growth in the number of international students, possibly the largest international enrollment the school has seen in its history. The only Oregon university with more international students was OSU, with 2,956 compared to the UO’s 2,656.

Kieran said the growth in out-of-state and international students reflects the UO’s public image.

“A lot of people from out of the state and out of the country find the UO pretty appealing these days,” he said. “They get a lot of publicity and people see what they have to offer.”

The UO also saw a significant increase in enrollment of Hispanic students, with a growth of nearly 16 percent in the past year. Kieran attributes this to the growing diversity in the country as a whole, and predicts Hispanic enrollment will continue to grow.

“Our world is becoming less white,” he said. “Hispanics are a growing part of everywhere in the U.S.”

While the UO has grown, however, its growth rate in 2012 is significantly lower than in previous years. In 2011, the population growth of new students was 4.5 percent, about a full four-percent difference from 2012.

However, Kieran emphasized that this is due to the large graduating class that left the UO last year, which was the largest graduating class in the school’s history.

“What’s happening is the UO is successful in graduating students,” Kieran said. “If we’re successful, our students leave.”

Overall, Kieran said the UO is growing at an appropriate rate, while preserving interests such as a small teacher-to-student ratio and class availability for the large student body.

“The UO is very good at trying to manage their enrollment,” he said. “This is pretty well what they were looking to do this year.”

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Samantha Matsumoto

Samantha Matsumoto