LA GRANDE – Eastern Oregon University is seeing a slight downturn in Fall enrollment. Total student headcount is down just 1% and total Student Credit Hours (SCH) saw a decrease of 3.5%, while online enrollments continue to trend upwards.
EOU President Tom Insko said uncertainty about the economic future and lingering effects of COVID-19 contributed to a smaller freshman class and fewer transfer students to the campus.
“Low-income, first-generation and diverse students have lost access to systems for connecting to higher education,” Insko said. “The inability to connect with counselors, advocates, and support services at the high school level has led to a lack of transition to colleges and universities.”
Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Committee (HECC) certified and compiled fall enrollment data for all public universities and community colleges last week. In total, Oregon university enrollments dropped by 0.5% in headcount.
Community colleges have taken a particular hit in Oregon, where student headcount has dropped nearly by half since 2014. Insko explained that declining community college enrollments have impacted the number of transfer students looking to earn a bachelor’s degree on campus or online at EOU.
The make-up of EOU’s student population remained steady from 2020, with 72% of students identified as low-income, rural, first-generation or military-tied. EOU’s move to freeze tuition for undergraduates this year aimed to retain students, especially those in these categories, who experienced significant impacts during the pandemic.
“We remained focused on ensuring access to higher education in rural regions and for the students we serve,” Insko said.
Similar to fall 2020, about 27% of EOU students identify as non-white, and 59% are female. EOU’s full data set can be found at eou.edu/institutional-effectiveness/institutional-research/historical-data/historic-enrollment-4th-week-data.
Compiled information from the HECC is available at oregon.gov/highered/research/Pages/student-data.aspx.