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At OSU-Cascades, an Increasing Rate of Diversity

Among transfer and first-year students, a rate of 23 percent students of color


Oregon State University-Cascades just released its enrollment numbers for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

One of the most striking stats: A higher rate of enrollment for students of color.

Among its first-year enrollees, OSU-Cascades is reporting a rate of close to 23 percent—or 22.9 percent—students of color. That stat comes from a relatively small cohort of just 113 first-time students—but it's still a significant figure that represents a higher rate of enrollment among people of color than the most recent numbers available among students in Central Oregon schools.

As of this fall, 1,259 students are enrolled at the Bend campus, the university reported Wednesday, representing a 4.6 increase in enrollment over last year. Over 85 percent of the first-year students are Oregonians, with 64 percent of them being from Central Oregon. Thirty-one percent of OSU-Cascades undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college, according to university data.

OSU-Cascades enrolled 113 first-time students this school year—64 percent of whom hail from Central Oregon. - OSU-CASCADES
  • OSU-Cascades
  • OSU-Cascades enrolled 113 first-time students this school year—64 percent of whom hail from Central Oregon.

While the rate for first-year students of color is at 23 percent, the university reports its overall enrollment among students of color at OSU-Cascades at 17.2 percent.

According to data from the Oregon Department of Education, in 2017, minority students represented 20.3 percent of the four-year adjusted cohort of students graduating in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. Demographic data is not yet available for students graduating in the class of 2018.

Jane Reynolds, director of Enrollment Services & Student Success at OSU-Cascades, attributes at least some of the university's progress in attracting increased numbers of students of color to having one of its recruiters responsible for looking for opportunities to engage with diverse audiences, and working with student groups such as Juntos—a program helping Latino students finish high school and move onto college, available in Madras, Redmond, Bend and other school districts statewide.

"To be clear, not all of our students come from Central Oregon," said Jane Reynolds, "We do have, especially in our first-year class, quite a few students from the Portland area, and so that's a more diverse area than Central Oregon, so that's part of it.

"And our transfer student numbers are just as diverse as first-year, and I think when you look at Hispanic or Latino students, I think many of those students are starting at COCC [Central Oregon Community College]—which is where many of our transfer students come from."

Among its overall enrollment, Oregon State University—which includes Corvallis, Bend and its Ecampus—has 7,857 students of color enrolled this year, which the university reports as an increase of 197 students, or a 2.6 percent increase over last year. For Corvallis and the Ecampus, the overall population of students of color is 25.4 percent.

“The diversity of Oregon State’s enrollment is mission driven,” said OSU President Ed Ray in a Wednesday release. “It is essential that all Oregonians have access to a high-quality college degree, and that we connect our state to the people of the  nation and the world through Oregon State’s diverse and inclusive enrollment.”

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)

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