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Smaller classes, outdoor joys help OSU-Cascades see 10.3% jump in first-year students this fall, 3.3% overall rise

(Update: adding video, comments from OSU-Cascades students, associate dean of enrollment)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- First-year student enrollment at Oregon State University–Cascades has increased for the ninth consecutive year, with a 2023 fall class of 225 students representing the largest in OSU-Cascades’ history and a 10.3% increase over the previous year, the Bend campus announced Tuesday.

The total number of students enrolled at OSU-Cascades this fall increased 3.3% over the previous year. The Bend campus now enrolls 1,313 students, including 1,058 undergraduates and 255 graduate students.

Samuel Sanford, a freshman from West Linn, said Wednesday, “I think it's rising because I think kids are learning that this campus exists. It's in Bend, Oregon, where we are 20 minutes away from the mountain. So I think kids are coming for that. I also think they're just coming for the small classes, class sizes as well, because I think that's also a pretty big thing for a lot of kids.”

Chancellor and Dean Sherm Bloomer said, “This enrollment growth, and particularly the strong increase in first-year students, demonstrates that OSU-Cascades delivers the academic and career preparation experience that students and families are looking for. The growth gives us confidence as we work to achieve the goal of enrolling 2,200 students at OSU-Cascades by 2030.”

Wes, a senior from Oakland California, told us “I really like the small campus size. You get a lot of attention from your professors, get to know your students pretty well. I like Bend. I like the mountains, I like running, biking, and skiing.”

Oregon State University’s fall 2023 enrollment has reached a record for the 27th consecutive year, topping 36,000, with growth spread across its Corvallis and Bend campuses and its online education unit.

OSU-Cascades is an extension of Oregon State university in Corvallis, where in-state tuition is about $32,000 a year. In comparison, tuition at the Bend campus is $24,000 a year. The difference for out-of-state tuition is even more significant, with Corvallis at $55,000 and OSU-Cascades at $35,000.

Associate Dean of Enrollment Jane Reynolds noted OSU-Cascades and OSU have their similarities, but are very different.

“Both of those students are interested in earning an OSU degree," she said. "So you are doing that here, with the same requirements that you might have to have in Corvallis. Just a different campus environment, very much about sustainability, and the outdoors and those kinds of things that are kind of associated with Bend and Central Oregon.”

With 36,636 students enrolled, up 1,397 students, or 4% over last year, Oregon State is the largest university in the state for the 10th consecutive year. More information about Oregon State’s overall fall enrollment is available at (and in a news release below).

OSU-Cascades fall enrollment also reflects:

  • 42% of OSU-Cascades students are from Central Oregon and 77.1% are from Oregon.
  • Students from out-of-state increased 16.5% over a year ago. In addition, students from three other countries are enrolled.
  • There are 282 students of color at OSU-Cascades, making up 21.5% of the student body. Over the past five years, enrollment among students of color has increased 4.5%.
  • Of 443 transfer students at OSU-Cascades, 64% are from Central Oregon, with 48% transferring from Central Oregon Community College.
  • Enrollment in the OSU Honors College nearly doubled from 16 to 29 OSU-Cascades students. The honors program offers students personal advising as well as research and involvement opportunities as they work toward an honors bachelor’s degree in their academic major.
  • 75 students receiving veterans’ benefits are enrolled at OSU-Cascades. 
  • The youngest enrolled student at OSU-Cascades is 17, and the oldest is 75. The average age of an undergraduate student is 23. The average age of a graduate student is 30.

In addition, of the class of first-year students entering OSU-Cascades from high school:

  • 72% are from Oregon and 25.8% are students of color.
  • 23% are first-generation college students.
  • 76.4%, live in the on-campus residence hall.

The report also showed that 12% of first-year students came to OSU-Cascades with enough college credit to enter at the sophomore or junior level, while 57% earned some college credits while in high school. The average high school GPA of the new freshman class remains steady at 3.59, with 41% of first-year students having a high school GPA of 3.75 or higher.

The fall enrollment increase was noted across degree programs at OSU-Cascades:

  • The largest undergraduate degree programs at OSU-Cascades are business administration with 134 students and computer science with 102 students.
  • Several programs grew sharply: psychology (32.9%); art, media and technology (26.5%); and kinesiology (20.3%).
  • The outdoor products program, launched in 2020, grew to 72 students.
  • A degree program in biochemistry and molecular biology launched this fall with 19 students enrolled.
  • OSU-Cascades’ Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which launched in 2021, is now at capacity with 126 students enrolled, representing three class cohorts.  
  • The graduate counseling degree program has 61 students.
  • Twenty students are enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. 
  • The low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program has 18 students.

More information about OSU-Cascades fall enrollment is available at

About OSU-Cascades:  Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by mountains, forest and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a highly innovative campus of a top-tier land grant research university, offering small classes that accelerate faculty-student mentoring and experiential learning. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.


Oregon State University enrollment reaches a new record, topping 36,000

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s fall 2023 enrollment has reached a record for the 27th consecutive year, topping 36,000, with growth spread across its Corvallis and Bend campuses and its online education unit.

With 36,636 students enrolled, up 1,397 students, or 4% over last year, Oregon State is the largest university in the state for the 10th consecutive year.

The enrollment includes students at OSU locations in Corvallis, Bend, Portland, La Grande and through the university’s nationally ranked online Ecampus unit. (For the remainder of this news release, enrollment numbers specified as Oregon State include all these locations except OSU-Cascades. Numbers from OSU-Cascades are broken out separately in the news release above.)

Ecampus, OSU’s online education offering, continues to be the lead contributor to enrollment growth, rising 7% to 11,430 students this fall. Ecampus enrollment has increased more than 40% in the past five years.

Enrollment on the Corvallis campus increased 2.5% to 24,188 students this fall. At OSU-Cascades in Bend, enrollment climbed to 1,313, up 3.3% from last year.

“These record enrollment numbers are evidence that Oregon State is delivering on its commitment to expand access to the highest quality higher education,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy. “The continued demand for Ecampus enrollment is particularly exciting, especially at a time when the university is launching a new strategic plan that calls for more than doubling Ecampus enrollment by 2030.”

Oregon State enrolls students from all 50 states and 102 countries and 17,884 Oregon residents from 35 of the state’s 36 counties.

Enrollment of students outside of Oregon jumped 8.3% this fall to 15,561. The top 5 states from which Oregon State enrolls students are California (4,373), Washington (2,634), Texas (744), Colorado (722) and Hawaii (554).

Fall enrollment at Oregon State includes 10,557 students of color, an increase of 547 students and a 5.3% increase over last year. Students of color now make up nearly 30% of OSU’s enrollment.

“After three straight years of record new undergraduate enrollment, we expect to see continued high demand for OSU education offerings,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost of enrollment management. “As we begin to reach our capacity for growth on the Corvallis campus, we are focused on creating additional pathways to an OSU degree on other campuses and especially online.”

Oregon State’s fall 2023 enrollment also includes:

  • 5,601 graduate students, an increase of 4% from last year. Of those, 1,900, or 33.9%, are Oregon residents.
  • 7,209 first-generation undergraduates, or 24% of enrollment, an increase of almost 6% from last year.
  • 1,971 students in the Honors College, or 6.6% of all undergraduates – a 18.4% increase in students over 2022.
  • 8,876 transfer students, a decrease of 1.2% from last fall.
  • 2,213 international students, a 5.3% decrease from fall 2022.
  • 1,527 veterans, a decrease of 1.5% from last fall.

At OSU-Cascades, there were increases in the enrollment of Oregon residents (1,012, a 2.3% increase); students of color (282, 5.2% increase) and graduate students (255, 10.4% increase). More details about enrollment at OSU-Cascades can be found here.

First-time students from high school increased at the Corvallis and Bend campuses (2.7% and 10.3%, respectively) and Ecampus (11.4%) from last fall.

The average GPA of new Oregon State students from high school enrolling on the Corvallis and Bend campuses is 3.76, which has increased steadily from 3.64 in 2018. Of OSU’s entering freshmen, four are National Merit award winners and 40 are Presidential Scholars, Oregon State’s most prestigious scholarship award.

Engineering remains the most popular area of study at Oregon State. The College of Engineering has 11,014 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this fall. The next largest colleges are Liberal Arts, 5,026 students; Business, 4,928; Science, 4,166; Agricultural Sciences, 3,032; and Health, 2,096.

Enrollments in other colleges and programs are College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, 1,297; College of Forestry, 1,292; Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs, 784; University Exploratory Studies, 733; College of Education, 597; Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, 334; and College of Pharmacy, 294.

The most popular undergraduate majors at Oregon State are computer science, followed by business administration, psychology, general engineering and mechanical engineering. General engineering is a program for entering undergraduates in the College of Engineering who will later select a specific engineering major.

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 35,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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