Oregon College Applications Decline While OSU Thrives

In the ongoing pandemic, students across the state are avoiding enrollment in Oregon public and community colleges for fall term. In April, many of Oregon’s public colleges had received the fewest financial aid applications in over a decade.  

Although Oregon schools are restarting traditional, in-person learning in the fall and vaccination rates are on the rise, many students are still not planning on returning to school. The uncertainty about face-to-face learning, the continued financial impact of the pandemic, the hindered access to academic advisors, the lack of college sport or performing arts events, and even the societal reevaluation of the value of higher education are only a few of the possible causes of this student application decrease.  

Whatever the cause is, one thing is for certain, the economic impact of these enrollment numbers is frightful. Between lost tuition, ticket sales for athletic events, and other sources of revenue, the expected loss is calculated at $500 million to $600 million.  

While most Oregon schools are faced with this continued lack of enrollment, Oregon State University has surprisingly experienced only an increase in financial aid applications. At this point, OSU has over 4,000 freshman students committed to attending in-person classes in the fall, making it one of OSU’s highest enrollment years to date.  

Noah Buckley, director of admissions at OSU, said to the Oregonian that these are “soft commitments” due to the continual shifting nature of the pandemic and the inability for many prospective students to visit the campus before applying. Regarding returning students, the rate of re-enrollment is also increasing. Although it’s hard to make any solid predictions for enrollment in the fall, it’s safe to say there’s a positive trend in students interested in going back to school in Corvallis.   

By Hannah Meiner