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UO’s interim president says geopolitics and pandemic still having affect on enrollment

Nathan Wilk
The University of Oregon's incoming class this fall was its largest ever, but overall enrollment is still down from its peak.

A decline in the University of Oregon’s international student population continues to affect overall enrollment, according to the school's interim president. Patrick Phillips spoke Friday at the City Club of Eugene.

He said in particular, the number of students from China has dropped significantly over the past five years due to both geopolitics as well as travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

“The other thing that’s happened in China is that they’ve made huge investments in their own higher education system," said Phillips. "So twenty years ago, you wanted to come to the United States. Now there’s really outstanding universities in China as well.”

The University of Oregon announced its largest ever incoming class this fall, but overall enrollment is down from its peak a decade ago.

Phillips was appointed as UO's interim president in August, after the previous president, Michael Schill, resigned in order to become president of Northwestern University in Illinois.

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.”
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