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A photo of Edmon Low Library on the first day of school, Aug. 16, 2021.

OSU celebrates another historic year in enrollment

Friday, August 20, 2021

Media Contact: Monica Roberts | Interim Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications | 405-744-4800 |

Oklahoma State University welcomed students back this week and anticipates having the second-largest incoming class and anticipates recording the largest one-year increase in new transfer students in school history. 

Total enrollment has increased by more than 140 students across OSU’s campuses in Stillwater and Tulsa with current enrollment for undergraduate and graduate students at 24,660, an increase of 255 students across the two campuses from last year. 

OSU has estimated over 4,267 first-time students enrolled, an increase of more than 123 students from fall of last year. Additionally, historically marginalized and underrepresented students make up over 30% of the incoming class, the most diverse OSU class on record.

Dr. Jeanette Mendez, OSU's interim provost, said it is not surprising that OSU has had such a strong enrollment despite national enrollment trending downward. Mendez said OSU is accommodating every student with resources to help them reach their goals.

“We remain focused on providing a high quality education to our students, while also recognizing the experiences our students have had the last year and a half,” Mendez said. “OSU's academic profile continues to elevate, and not only will we see a benefit of strong enrollment enhancing this, our enrollment is growing because we have a strong academic profile.

“Given the disruptions students have endured as a result of the pandemic, there is an eagerness to move forward and that includes for our high school students continuing their plans to attend college. We've seen now more than ever the importance of a college degree to prepare our students for a changing workforce.”

The influx of new students speaks to the quality of education at OSU, said Karen Chen, OSU’s interim vice president of enrollment management.

“OSU’s enrollment is strong,” Chen said. “We anticipate having the second-largest first-time student class in history and the largest transfer class in the last five years. As a modern land-grant university, we are committed to serving the public through teaching, research and service.”

OSU is anticipating over 1,600 transfer students between the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, up more than 200 students from last year. First-generation student enrollment numbers are also strong. OSU President Kayse Shrum can relate to those students, because she was a first-generation student herself.

“Nearly 20 percent of our freshmen class are first-generation students,” Chen said. “With all the challenges of the past year and a half, our students, faculty and staff have persevered.” 

Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, OSU’s vice president for student affairs, believes OSU’s culture plays a large part in its increasing enrollment trends. 

“We have a culture of care on this campus where we work to support students to be successful and lift them up when needed,” Hallenbeck said. “I believe that culture of care and the overall Cowboy community has resonated with our students, and that has shown in our enrollment numbers this fall.”

The enrollment numbers are estimates as of Friday and official census data will be released Aug. 30.

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