Oregon State University enrollment is up again this fall, but for the first time in more than two decades, the number of students in Corvallis is actually down.
Overall enrollment is up by 107 students from last fall to 32,011, yet another record total that makes OSU the largest university in the state for the fifth straight year, the university announced on Wednesday.
That includes 6,565 students in the online Ecampus program, 1,259 at OSU-Cascades in Bend and 91 taking classes at the new Portland Center, all net gains over last year.
But at the main campus in Corvallis, the number is 24,290 — a decrease of 470 students, or 1.9 percent, from last fall, when the tally was 24,760.
The last time the local student body shrank was in 1996, according to Sal Castillo, who heads up OSU’s Office of Institutional Research.
That fall, Oregon State’s enrollment was 13,355, down by 388 from a total of 13,743 in 1995.
“From fall of 1996 until last year, we’ve had continuous growth — not always strong, but continuous,” Castillo said.
“And as everyone in Corvallis knows, from about 2008 to 2013, it was a big jump.”
This year’s drop, he noted, bumps back local enrollment at OSU close to where it was in the fall of 2013, when there were 24,158 students taking classes on the Corvallis campus.
“Since 2013, it’s roughly flat,” Castillo said.