CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon University System released its fall enrollment numbers for 2013, and Oregon State University accounts for 99 percent of student growth at all seven universities, and some residents are concerned about the growth.
Oregon State University has 1,667 more students this year than it did last fall, out of OUS’s total increase of 1,681 students: a difference of 14 students. In comparison, the University of Oregon saw a decrease in 43 students.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Steve Clark, the Vice President of University Relations and Marketing at OSU. “It says we’re doing our part to contribute to educational success.”
Clark says OSU is doing its best to contribute to 40-20-20, a state goal that states by 2025, 40 percent of Oregonians would have a Bachelor’s degree, 40 percent would have an Associate’s degree, and 20 percent would have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
“Now how do we do that? It isn’t just by putting a cap on enrollment, because if we put a cap on enrollment, broadly throughout Oregon State, Oregonians will not have the education they need personally and as a state in the future.”
OSU is expanding its Cascades campus in Bend, which saw an increase of 135 students, and its online e-campus, which saw an increase in almost 600 students.
“They could be anywhere in the United States,” Clark said. “They could be attending classes throughout the world. Our growth in Corvallis is about a 4 percent increase this year – about 940 students.”
Clark says OSU wants to limit the growth in Corvallis to 1-2 percent annually within the next few years.
“So that’s why we’re expanding OSU-Cascades to a 4-year University. That’s why we’re expanding e-campus distance learning, that’s why we’re planning for the Newport campus.”
But some Corvallis residents are concerned about even the 940 extra students in Corvallis this year.
“Rent is really expensive in Corvallis compared to other communities in the area,” said resident Coco Anderson. “There are lots of families in our community that cannot find affordable housing. And some of them choose to leave the community, and others struggle to get by.”
Anderson, a social worker, works with many families who say they are unable to afford living in town. She says because so many students are renting places to live, rental prices are increasing, and it is becoming more difficult for families to find affordable housing.