SOU bucks national trend by increasing 2017 enrollment

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/EkCqH3)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Official fall term enrollment figures released by the state this week paint Southern Oregon University as an institution on the rise and an exception among universities nationwide.

SOU posted gains in both the number of full-time equivalent students and actual headcount of students this fall, compared to fall term of 2016. Figures on full-time equivalent students are considered the most critical, because they indicate enrollment in terms of the credit hours and tuition revenue generated by students.

SOU’s full-time equivalent enrollment increased by just over 2 percent this fall, to 4,383 students – 90 more than a year ago. The university’s actual headcount – the total number of full- and part-time students enrolled – rose by just under 1 percent, to 6,139. That represents an increase of 51 students.

“These enrollment figures are a reflection of the upward trajectory SOU is experiencing,” said Linda Schott, the university’s president. “The trend across the country is for declining college enrollment. We are focused on preparing our students for a changing future, and on providing the knowledge and skills that will help them succeed.

“We are seeing increases this fall in the number of new, first-year students, retention of last year’s first-year students and overall retention of returning students. That indicates our efforts to attract students and provide the services they need are producing results.”

SOU has increased its institutional aid budget – financial aid for students who are the least able to afford higher education costs – to $4 million, from the $3.5 million that was budgeted previously. The university has also focused on its student success programs and expanded efforts to steer eligible students toward cost-saving options such as those that enable students to attain a college degree in three years.

“Our enrollment increase is due in large part to the strategic directions we put into place a couple years ago, regarding recruitment and retention,” SOU Provost Susan Walsh said. “We created several programs and initiatives that are intended to appeal to resident and nontraditional students. I really credit our enrollment and admissions team for the good work they’ve done.”

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed that college enrollment across the U.S. fell by 1.4 percent in 2016, continuing a slide that began four years earlier. The nonprofit research center projected earlier this year that the nationwide enrollment decline would continue in 2017.

Total enrollment at Oregon’s seven public universities declined this year by six-tenths of 1 percent in full-time equivalent students and increased by less than one-tenth of 1 percent in total headcount of full- and part-time students. (Enrollment figures for the individual universities are available online.)

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

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.”

SOU Sets Another Enrollment Record

RCC Transfers, Californians and Hispanic Students Lead Growth

(Ashland, Ore.) –Southern Oregon University is experiencing the largest and most diverse fall enrollment in its history. Headcount has reached 6,744, a 4.7 percent increase over last fall’s figure that was up a dramatic 26 percent over fall 2009. The categories showing the strongest growth were transfers – especially from Rogue Community College, Hispanic students, Californians and international students. Continue reading

SOU Breaks All Enrollment Records – Most Students Ever

Rate of Growth is the Highest of All Oregon Public Universities

(Ashland, Ore.) –Californians have discovered Southern Oregon University (SOU). So have Oregonians, Hispanics, foreign students, transfer students and graduate students. SOU experienced record growth this fall in every category the university measures.

SOU President Mary Cullinan notes, “All of Oregon’s public universities grew this fall. We’re an affordable option in a difficult economy. But SOU’s growth is exceptional. We’re the only university of its kind on the West Coast. We’re a public university with a focus on connecting students with faculty and with the region. We’re committed to powerful programs in the arts and the sciences—but also to professional programs in education and business that educate the professional workforce of this region. We’ve worked hard to get the news out about SOU. And now we’ve been discovered.”

  • The following are highlights from fall term 2010 enrollment figures: • Headcount is 6,443, a 26.2% increase over fall 2009, and the highest enrollment for any term in the university’s history.
  • Full Time Equivalent (FTE) enrollment is 4,524, 15.1% more than fall 2009, and also an all time record.
  • Hispanic enrollment saw a dramatic increase, up 46.3% this fall, helping to raise minority student enrollment to 12.5%. This is the most diverse fall term in SOU history.
  • Fall 2010 represents SOU’s largest new transfer class ever – 674 students, an increase of 36% over fall 2009.
  • Fall term 2010 includes SOU’s largest new graduate class in the institution’s history, a 3.9% increase over fall 2009.
  • California student enrollment is up 37.9% over last fall, the largest number of California students in institutional history. Total non‐resident enrollment is up 22.6%. In total, 37.4% of the new class this fall is non‐resident.
  • Resident first time freshmen enrollment is up 15.5%. Campus housing is filled to capacity this fall.
  • Freshmen retention increased to 70.4%, reflecting a continuing trend of improved retention rates. By comparison, SOU retained 62.8% of new students in 2003.
  • Foreign student enrollment increased 22.2% from fall 2009. Even with the dramatic growth, SOU still has capacity and is busily recruiting more students. Applications for fall 2011 are already well ahead of this time last year.

SOU is also developing new programs. Agreements were recently signed with several Chinese campuses to send business students to SOU. The university’s Emerging Media and Digital Art program is expanding this fall and has a new program director. On‐line course offerings have increased 144% over 2008 offerings. The National Science Foundation has recently awarded close to a million dollars in grants for equipment and expansion of laboratories.

“No other undergraduate liberal arts campus in the West can top SOU for quality, affordability, accessibility, and location,” says President Cullinan. “SOU’s inspiring faculty, connected learning, creative spirit, and beautiful location make this campus a magnet for motivated students. I couldn’t be happier about that.”