SOU Sees Second-Largest Enrollment in its History

FTE Dips, Overall Retention Up, Record Number of Californians

(Ashland, Ore.) – Southern Oregon University’s 40% growth spurt over the last four years has paused to take a breath. Headcount that reached a record 6,744 in fall 2011 dipped to 6,481 this fall, a 3.9% decrease. Although down compared to fall 2011, fall 2012 represents the second-largest enrollment in institutional history. The numbers declined in most categories with the noticeable exception of California students, who reached a new record headcount of 969, a 4.4% increase over last fall.

“Enrollment growth has not been a straight line,” says SOU President Mary Cullinan. “Although this year’s numbers show a decrease, our numbers two years ago were the largest increase in the Oregon University System. The state economy has been on a bumpy road the last four years, and enrollment numbers are bouncing as well. We look forward to stability in state revenue and funding for higher education, as well as more predictability in the enrollment pipeline.”

The following are highlights from fall term 2012 enrollment figures:

  • Headcount is 6,481, a 3.9% decrease from fall 2011, and similar to fall 2010 enrollment of 6,444.
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTE) enrollment is 4,573, 2.2% less than the record in fall 2011.
  • Overall retention of continuing students, who comprise 73% of the undergraduate student body, is up 0.9%.
  • Latino enrollment, which had leaped 82% in the last two years, dipped 0.9% this fall.
  • Transfers from community colleges and other universities were down 19.2%. New freshmen were down 10.3%. New graduate students were down 13.8%.
  • California student enrollment is up 4.4% over last fall, hitting another record. Total non-resident enrollment is up 1.5%.
  • On-campus housing is again close to capacity this fall.
  • International student enrollment dropped 2.9% this fall, but will increase over the remainder of the school year

Looking ahead, construction continues on the new North Campus Village, a 700-bed student residential project that replaces the aging Cascades Housing and Dining Complex. Opening is anticipated in fall 2013. Recruiting has begun for the new Honors College at Southern Oregon University, also scheduled for a fall 2013 launch. The renovation of the Churchill Hall administration building is complete, and offices are being reoccupied. The SOU Science Building is scheduled for a major remodel beginning in the spring.

“We just celebrated SOU’s 140th birthday on November 4,” says President Cullinan, “and we look ahead to a bright future. Certainly, there will be challenges but this is a wonderful university with strong local support, a dedicated faculty, and engaged students eager to learn. Great things are still to come.”

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