By the numbers

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 09, 2012 03:04 pm

Enrollment down slightly at Eastern Oregon University

Enrollment at EOU is down slightly from a year ago, according to the Oregon University System’s fourth-week student count report.

Still the report, released Thursday, also indicates that the foundation is in place for solid enrollment growth at EOU in the near future.

“Overall I feel good about the report. It showed good growth in key areas,” said EOU President Bob Davies. 

Eastern has a total head count of 4,208 students, down 2.1 percent from a year ago. The number of full-time students at Eastern is essentially unchanged, according to full-time equivalent (FTE) figures. Eastern’s FTE is 2,903, down only three from a year ago. FTE is determined by dividing the number of credit hours students are taking by 15.

Davies attributes part of Eastern’s small enrollment drop to the large senior class that graduated in June. EOU had a senior class of about 700, the second-highest in its history.

The president said the full-time equivalent student count in the OUS report is good news for Eastern because the state uses the number of full-time students universities have as the basis for determining how much funding they receive.

“This means that unless something crazy happens we should be fine,” Davies said. “I feel comfortable about our funding situation.”

A closer look at the fourth-week enrollment report’s numbers paint a promising picture of Eastern’s future. They indicate that enrollment among freshman just out of high school is up nine percent. Eastern has 426 freshmen, 41 more than a year ago.

“This was a nice increase,” Davies said. “Our goal is to have 410 to 450 freshman a year.”

Eastern’s freshman class includes 107 students from Union County, 33 from Umatilla County, 14 from Baker County and 12 from Clackamas County.

EOU has 135 freshman from out of state, including 12 from Alaska. A year ago Eastern had just three freshmen from Alaska.

The news is also good on the community college transfer front. Eastern has 662 community college transfers, only two less than a year ago when it had the most in recent history. This reflects an intensive effort to develop strong ties with community colleges throughout the state. 

“Our strategy for working with community colleges is paying off,” Davies said.

Davies said Eastern’s high numbers are noteworthy considering that nationally the number of community college transfers at universities is declining.

Most of Eastern’s community college transfers are from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, from which 89 students came to EOU, the highest total in at least four years. 

Second on the list is Treasure Valley Community College with 52 transfers, also the highest total in at least four years. 

The next six community colleges from which transfers are coming to EOU are Mount Hood CC with 51; Umpqua CC, 44; Portland CC, 43; Chemeketa CC, 38; and Southwest Oregon CC; 36.