UO enrollment plummets as OSU, PSU growth continues

From UO’s Institutional Research website:

Meanwhile Oregon State is up 1.1%. Portland State freshmen enrollment is up 8.8%.

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27 Responses to UO enrollment plummets as OSU, PSU growth continues

  1. dog says:

    Probably most readers will only pay attention to the top curve which is the sum of undergraduate enrollment.

    However, the middle curve is for residents and shows, I think,
    disturbing behavior.

    1. Enrollment was essentially flat from 2002 to 2011 and then

    2. Enrollment for residents started to fall more steeply than that
    for the total

    So, the data show that we are not scaling our Unviersity services to the residents of Oregon. Qualitatively I knew this, but I didn;t think it was quite this stark as I had never looked at undergrad enrollment separately.

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    • just different says:

      It’s not a coincidence that the nonresident curve is green.

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    • Anas clypeata says:

      Also keep in mind that Oregon’s population roughly doubled from the start of the graph (1971) to the end of the graph (2017), and the total number of college students in the US during that time has more than doubled, from about 8 million to 20 million.

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  2. "Robert M. Hutchins" says:

    Of course, these data do ‘prove’ the assertion that enrollment increases when the football program succeeds and declines when it does not. The solution is clear: More resources need to be devoted to achieving success on the gridiron….

    I was so wrong about this issue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To play devils advocate, if the title of the article is true and OSU and PSU enrollment has been increasing (and OSU enrollment certainly has), then that suggests your assertion may be misguided. Both universities have failed to field successful football teams, and PSU isn’t even in the Pac 12, over the last decade.

      However, I think there may be an argument to be made about brand building and and if UO has centered its brand around being a sports juggernaut. If that is the true brand that students have been buying into, then I agree with what you’re saying and the decline in the football program could result in falling enrollment.

      A few things to ponder
      1. What is the Universities long term strategic plan? Does it want to see enrollment increase, decrease or stay the same?
      2. Are more students majoring in engineering and thereby not enrolling at UO because it is not offered?
      3. The administration has been drunk at the wheel for the last decade and hasn’t been able to put together a coherent plan that achieves the goals of all stakeholders in the University as it has rarely focused on improving the student academic experience and has been more concerned with riding the unsustainable title wave of sports success into the sunset all the while failing to realize why UO sports have historically been under dogs.

      As an undergrad during the growth period, I have to admit, I felt that the undergraduate population was treated as a necessary evil to advance the University’s goals. As an Oregon resident, If I could have done it all over again, I would’ve gone to OSU instead. It’s great that the University has been/will developing these elite facilities, but it always seems that the university spends its money in a way that will always have little impact of the lives of its undergrad population. Let me give an example of this new dorms, rec center remodel, new alumni building, matt arena, football complex, softball field, jock box, new health center remodel, new career center, new research centers etc etc . I spent more time a week in a classroom, emu (which has been remodeled, but that’s another post), and library then I did at the rec center, or health center, or alumni building, or career center. Please excuse the above misguided rant.

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  3. Ugh says:

    What is the goal? To increase enrollment? Or is the dip just some noise in the ball park of our current desired enrollment?

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    • just different says:

      I thought UO was overenrolled in 2009-2012 in the sense that it put a strain on available instructional resources. But the drop in resident enrollment is inexcusable.

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    • dog says:

      noise goes as the square root of the number of counts, so in this case +/- 140 students. The trend is larger than this. To me, the numbers matter far less than the shape of the curves

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      • Ugh says:

        Not worth getting hung up on, but that’s not a correct application of using sqrt(n) to calculate noise.

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  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time that the exorbitant tuition increase risked starting or amplifying an enrollment spiral. Down about 700 this year, about equally between in-state and out-of-state. My guesstimate (as usual, I will modestly note, probably on the money, so to speak) is they lose about $12 million in tuition and state subsidy. I hope they have budgeted for that; I doubt it. If I am right, it basically negates the revenue from the final tuition hike, which was still high even after the state pitched in more money.

    For this performance, they have several execs making multiple $100Ks. I could have given them better advice for a pitcher at 19th St. Or they could have gotten it for free by reading my posts here at UOMatters.

    They are arrogant and living in a bubble. Schill basically says “Let them borrow money and shut up” to pay for the outsized tuition hike. It is not looking good.

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  5. Dog says:

    If I have time I will make a plot of the fractional change with time for resident enrollment at the UO. I will also include inappropriate error bars.

    To me, the main question is this:

    Is the UO preferentially admitting students that will pay more tuition money at the expense of admitting Oregon residents?

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  6. uomatters says:

    For those not aware:

    The RG story highlighting UO plans to increase out-of-state enrollment: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36001005-75/out-of-stateoffensive.html.csp

    Pres Schill’s response: http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/36046314-78/uo-committed-to-recruiting-in-state-students.html.csp

    Toward that end, the UO is already doing more to attract Oregon’s best and brightest to our campus in Eugene. In the last year we’ve grown the ranks of our in-state recruiting staff by nearly 40 percent and increased the number of statewide recruiting events and visits with high school counselors by close to 20 percent. In addition, resources allocated to scholarships and institutional grants for resident students have increased by more than 79 percent over the last five years. We won’t take our foot off the gas.

    But recruitment and scholarship dollars do not fix the underlying problem: The state is suffering from a decline in students who are ready for college. Only 43 percent of Oregon high school graduates take the SAT and ACT college entrance exams, a 15 percent decline since 2012. At the UO, we’re committed to partnering with the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade school system to help reverse this trend. Last week, I announced a major initiative to do just that.

    The first component is called the Oregon Research Schools Network, an idea that came from our College of Education. As part of this pilot project, the UO will embed university faculty in up to 10 high schools throughout the state. These faculty members will train teachers in the newest pedagogical innovations, learning strategies and state-of-the-art educational advances. Our faculty will also provide classroom instruction to high school students, with a focus on increasing graduation rates and college readiness.

    We will track the success of the initiative. If it achieves its goals, we may look to partner with the state to expand the program.

    A second component is to increase the reach of our campus pipeline programs. The UO’s two signature programs — Summer Academy to Inspire Learning and the Oregon Young Scholars Program — bring predominantly under-represented high school students to campus to participate in classroom activities over the summer.

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    • UO recruiting across the state says:

      Just want to note that for several years, the sciences had an NSF K-12 program and a follow-up one that sent graduate students out to elementary schools across the state, including eastern Oregon. The grad students were great ambassadors for UO. The sciences also sent speakers out for ‘science pubs’ across the state. These ‘boots on the ground’ approaches could be expanded, in addition to COE’s more thorough plan.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      All this may be true. But the fact is, in-state enrollment has gone up considerably at OSU and PSU. OSU brags about having far more Oregon valedictorians than any other Oregon school. Are these other places dropping standards in other ways? I don’t know. I don’t know of much evidence that UO is getting better students.

      Does UO (the institutional leadership) really want more Oregon students if it comes at the expense of out-of-state enrollment? I doubt it.

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  7. admissions says:

    For years now admissions has been under enormous pressure to get more Oregonians, because each one meant admitting another precious Californian paying out of state while keeping a 49.99% out of state ratio. It was a big relief when Shill started taking things in a different direction and recognized that since the University isn’t funded by Oregonians any longer that it doesn’t need to keep worrying about educating them.

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    • Dog says:

      and that is a self-fulfilling prophecy – and end state being a totally private University, for which the UO is way too big …

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I don’t know if you are really from Admissions — but in any case, how do you explain the big in-state enrollment growth at OSU and PSU, and UO’s apparent struggle to get in-state students? What is keeping the Oregonians away from UO?

      Is it the culture at UO? The program offerings? The higher tuition compared to the other schools?

      Maybe it’s just the attitude — official or not — that UO doesn’t need to worry about — is too good for? — Oregonians?

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      • admissions says:

        Obviously its because the Portland Pilots are a better football team.

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        • dog says:

          that would be the University of Portland pilots, a private university.
          Not knowing this indeed disqualifies you from actually being in admissions.

          ON a more serious note, comparison with PSU is really not fair –
          much different urban audience that is filled with part time students
          and so their enrollment in terms of head count can be very large.

          OSU is a direct comparision

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      • Oldtimer says:

        Likely factors include:
        1 Higher UO tuition for middle income students
        2 higher minimum admission standards at the UO
        3 state investment in a branch OSU campus in Bend
        4 we do not have engineering, and STEM emphasis in schools is increasing interest in science and engineering.
        5 both OSU and PSU have much more extensive online courses and degrees.
        Just to name a few

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  8. joemud says:

    I would love to see a real analysis of the state schools surrounding large states. I am sure there are clear patterns in Oregon, Nevada, Arizona as the effects of the Cali students that can’t get into in state schools. OK schools with TX as well. Clearly there is a path to volume and mediocrity and a path towards excellence. Serving the population of students that can’t compete in their states is not the way towards excellence. So I guess some OR kids get a cheap education partially funded by kids from other states. But in the end it is a lower quality education. Causing more OR kids to go to out of state and private colleges.

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