Oklahoma universities break enrollment records

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

by Silas Allen

Oklahoman

As students at most of Oklahoma's colleges and universities headed back to class Monday, many found their campuses more crowded than when they left in May.

Many colleges and universities across the state, including the state's three largest institutions, began their fall semesters Monday.

And those three largest schools the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma are breaking enrollment records.

Colleges and universities won't have final enrollment numbers until they complete their fall enrollment periods.

OSU: Most freshmen
On Monday, OSU's freshman class size stood at 4,298, making it the largest freshman class at any public university in the state's history. That total tops the previous record of 4,053, set by OU last year.

Overall enrollment at OSU's Stillwater campus is also at an all-time high. Monday's enrollment total stood at 23,459, topping the campus' previous record of 23,053, set in 1982.

In a statement, OSU President Burns Hargis attributed the enrollment growth to support from alumni and other donors.

"OSU's increased enrollment numbers are a direct result of the momentum of our generous donors who are creating opportunities for our faculty and students and the university's partnership with the city of Stillwater in making this community a top destination for students," Hargis said.

OU: More growth
OU is also on pace to have its largest freshman class ever. On Monday, the university had enrolled 4,155 freshmen.

While that figure is smaller than OSU's freshman class size, it places OU about 100 students ahead of its record-breaking figure in 2011.

Matt Hamilton, OU's registrar and vice president for enrollment and student financial services, said he expects that number to go up slightly over the next week as the last few students enroll for the fall semester.

The enrollment growth came even though OU admitted 162 fewer students than last year, meaning a larger percentage of those prospective students the university admitted eventually enrolled there.

This year's class is also similar to last year's in terms of academic standing in high school, he said.

"We're very pleased with the class that we have," he said.

UCO: Numbers rise
Likewise, UCO is on pace to see its fourth consecutive year of record enrollment.

The university's enrollment numbers change "literally by the minute" this week, UCO spokeswoman Adrienne Nobles said, but on Monday the university's overall enrollment stood at 16,914 students, an increase of 40 students over the same date in 2011.

On Monday, UCO had enrolled 2,172 first-time freshmen, a 42-student increase over the same date in 2011.