OSU enrollment rises despite the global pandemic

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OSU enrollment rises despite the global pandemic

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 15:34
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(STILLWATER, Oklahoma, Sept. 1, 2020) — Enrollment is up by more than 360 students at Oklahoma State University and retention is at an all-time high despite the challenges of a fall semester with a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

The university saw a 1.5 percent bump in enrollment this fall compared with fall 2019. OSU has slightly more transfer students at 1,346, and the freshman class is nearly the same size as last year’s at 4,144. The combined student enrollment of the Tulsa and Stillwater campuses is now at 24,405. Enrollment for graduate and veterinary medicine students are up as well.

“Although this is a difficult time for many as we work to keep safe and battle the impact of the pandemic, we are delighted that the loyalty and dedication of our students has resulted in increased enrollment and record retention,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Our faculty and staff go the extra mile to welcome students into the Cowboy family and provide them a top-notch education.”

The university is retaining 84.9 percent of its first-time, full-time undergraduates who started at OSU last year. That figure is up 1.7 percent from the previous year and up 0.3 percent from the record set in fall 1999.

Kyle Wray, vice president for Enrollment and Brand Management, said everyone from the Office of First Year Success, housing, student advisors, faculty and college staff members play important roles in supporting students.

“It takes a village,” he said. “We feel good about being one of the few institutions that can point to being up in enrollment. It has been a hard, difficult year for families and the university, but we feel like we are in a good place. The admissions and financial aid offices have performed magnificently given the challenges they were under.”

Student Government Association President Jaden Kasitz, a senior who is double majoring in mechanical engineering and mathematics, agrees. 

She said fellow students have told her they are glad to be back in Stillwater.

“So much of the college experience really depends on making your own decisions and being on your own away from home,” Kasitz said. “It is worth it to be back on campus for the community that it brings. I, of course, want to be back on campus, but I want to do so in a way that is considerate of my health and that of my peers, faculty and staff. I believe the Cowboys Coming Back community guidelines allowed us to do this well. We have seen these first two weeks of school that our protocols, when followed, are working. We are extremely fortunate to have a community that seeks to protect each other.”