Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) achieved record enrollment again this year, increasing 4.9 percent with the addition of almost 260 students, to a total of 5,490 students. Oregon’s public polytechnic university has seen total ten year growth exceeding 65 percent across its campuses in Klamath Falls, Portland-Metro (in Wilsonville), Online, and other sites.
Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, said, “As we extend ourselves as ‘industry’s university’, Oregon Tech will continue to grow because of the value proposition we offer both graduates and employers. We are adding new, in-demand bachelor’s and master’s programs each year to specifically meet market needs in engineering and technology fields, and those related degrees that build strong organizations across the board, like operations management and professional writing. Besides enrollment, our graduate success rate is also increasing. Now 95 percent of our graduates are employed or pursuing graduate school within six months of earning their degrees, and netting top starting salaries in Oregon, now averaging $56,000. That’s our proof point.”
A key growth area for Oregon Tech this fall was at its Online Campus, which saw a 5.7 percent increase over last year, to more than 1,500 students. Erika Veth, dean of the Online Campus said, “Students learning through distance education tend to be place-bound, working, and juggling busy family lives, which is becoming more of the norm for college students statewide and nationally. We’re proud that our students can earn high quality degrees in convenient ways which meet their goals and life needs.”
Also notable was an improved retention rate for freshman of almost 80 percent, an all-time high, which also positively impacted enrollment. “The strong returning-student numbers and significant increase in the retention rate show that our intentional efforts are working,” said Dr. Erin Foley, vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “Oregon Tech has used very innovative approaches, such as our Owl2Owl peer texting program, to proactively reach students before they are at-risk of losing ground academically or dropping out. We also adopted the strong federal TRiO program model of comprehensive supports to all incoming freshmen, and reach out with customized, extra support for new students, for example. It’s clear that these initiatives are enabling our students to be successful and move steadily forward towards degree attainment.”
Oregon Tech served a growing number of Oregonians this year, increasing nearly 7 percent, to 76.3 percent of the total student population. New students entering Oregon Tech increased 4.7 percent, and the returning/continuing student rate grew 5.1 percent. While still a relatively small number, international students also increased this fall, up 38% over last year to 116 students.
Diversity also continued to increase, with more than 30 percent students of color across all campuses and sites. The university’s gender mix is now about 50/50, with more and more women entering STEM fields each year, and served by Oregon Tech’s engagement in programs that encourage young women in math, science and other technology fields. This includes offering college credits to high school students across the state, a population that increased 24 percent this fall to more than 1,500 students. Oregon Tech’s science, technology and math curriculum give these students the academic rigor they need in STEM fields to thrive when they enter a college environment, as well as saving money on lower-cost advanced credits.
Dr. Foley added, “We are really proud of these student demographics, which reflect efforts on Oregon Tech’s part of welcoming all students, and making them feel connected to the Oregon Tech family. We’re not just teaching and training students to be successful on campus, we’re preparing them as well for the diverse, interdisciplinary environments that they will be a part of in the workplace and in their communities.”
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier public polytechnic institution in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in engineering, health technologies, business, technology, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through applied and relevant learning and professional practice. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls, an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville, an Online Campus, and offers degrees at Boeing Seattle, Salem and at other sites. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.