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OSU touts record enrollment figures

Oregon State University sign
Chris Lehman
Oregon State University said enrollment has topped 35,000 students across its system.

Oregon State University set a new enrollment record this fall. The school says the total number of students across its campuses now tops 35,000 for the first time ever.

Jon Boeckenstedt, Vice President of Enrollment at OSU, said the record is driven to a large extent by the growth in the school’s online “Ecampus” program.

“It’s become dramatically more popular in the last five years or so, and the pandemic, I think, accelerated that interest," he said. "People realized that taking a high-quality degree program online is viable and workable.”

The Ecampus program experienced a 6% jump in enrollment from the previous year, but Boeckenstedt said there's a limit to how fast the university can expand its online offerings.

"Developing courses and programs and making sure they meet our quality standards is a fairly involved and slow process, so it's not like we can flip a switch and put more classes online at a moment's notice," he said.

The most popular field of study at OSU remains engineering, with roughly one-in-three graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the program. The university said nearly 30 percent of its students are people of color.

Boeckenstedt said the overall enrollment numbers mean OSU is the largest university in the state of Oregon for the ninth consecutive year.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”