Eastern sees dip in totals

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 15, 2013 10:02 am

Enrollment numbers down 1.2 percent from last year

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

Eastern has a total head count of 4,157 students, 51 fewer than a year ago, a drop of 1.2 percent. 

Eastern President Bob Davies said the drop reflects the continuing impact of the 2008-09 recession.

“EOU serves many high-need students with families who are working hard to recover from the recession and in many regions we serve, those areas have not yet recovered,” Davies said.

The president noted that nationally post-recession enrollment is down as more people choose to re-enter the workforce rather than go back to school. 

The EOU enrollment dip comes two years after enrollment at the university hit an all-time high of 4,298 students and about five months after Eastern graduated the largest class in its history, about 825 students, in June.

“As with similar institutions, it has been difficult to replace those numbers as the market shifts and adjusts to changes in financial aid availability, concerns over incurring debt and increased competition,” Davies said.

Eastern’s enrollment total includes 371 freshmen, 55 fewer than a year ago.

On a bright note, Davies said that the number of people who have applied for admission to EOU in the fall of 2014 and those who have been admitted for the fall of 2014 is up from the number who had applied and been admitted for the upcoming academic year a year ago.

Davies had anticipated that enrollment would be down slightly this year because the number of students graduating from high school in Oregon and throughout the nation has recently declined.

Eastern is one of three schools in the Oregon University System to experience an enrollment drop. Enrollment dropped 5.3 percent at Southern Oregon University and 0.2 percent at the University of Oregon.

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