Economy affects enrollment at Northwestern

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Economy affects enrollment at Northwestern

A year after reaching its fifth largest enrollment in school history, Northwestern Oklahoma State University will see fewer students on its campuses this fall.

A booming regional economy, one that has companies and businesses scrambling for employees, is the main factor for a 6.1 percent enrollment decrease in fall semester classes.

“We knew at some point the economy was going to have an effect on enrollment,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “Some students are choosing to delay their college plans and take advantage of the plentiful job opportunities.

“However, Oklahomans better than most, realize these booms are cyclical, and the individuals who will enjoy the best long-term employment prospects are those who have a college degree.”

In a preliminary enrollment report submitted to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Northwestern reported 2,171 students are attending classes this fall, 141 less than a year ago.

At the main campus in Alva, enrollment stands at 1,444 students. Student housing occupancy continued to top 700 students residing in the school’s four residence halls.

Cunningham said Northwestern welcomed a slightly smaller freshman class of 392 students, but saw an increase of nearly 19 percent in transfer students to 265.

Enrollment at Northwestern-Enid stood at 265 students, with another 258 students attending classes at Northwestern-Woodward.

Enrollment at Northwestern’s outreach sites totaled 176 students, down just six from a year ago. Concurrent enrollment of high school juniors and seniors was a bright spot, with enrollment jumping 10 percent.

Northwestern’s online course offerings, including its degree completion programs in business, accounting and nursing, enrolled 551 students.

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