November 3, 2020– Klamath Falls, Ore. – First-time undergraduate student enrollment at the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) for fall 2020 again registered a strong increase, signaling demand for professionally-focused degree programs with high returns for graduates.
New freshmen at Oregon Tech in fall 2020 increased more than 11 percent from 2019, which was previously the largest freshman class increase for the university in 30 years, and an increase of almost 40 percent since 2017.
“More than 1,200 new students joined Oregon Tech this term, and it is an honor to welcome them into the Oregon Tech family during this unprecedented fall term,” said Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan. “The increase in first-time students is a testament to the high-quality degree programs at Oregon Tech and the high return on investment our students continue to experience as our graduates. This is also a particularly impactful contribution to our state as we meet the growing demands for qualified workforce during these uncertain times we are currently facing through the pandemic.”
Overall, Oregon Tech’s headcount (not including high school dual credit students) is 3,962 students—30 students more than fall 2019. In addition, 1,363 dual credit students are taking Oregon Tech courses in high schools this fall for an overall enrollment of 5,325 students.
The increase in enrollment was achieved despite a decrease in new transfer students from community colleges. Provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, Joanna Mott, Ph.D., remains optimistic about transfer student numbers: “While we experienced a decline in enrollment of transfer students, that is a trend we see every few years and the number was not as significant as we estimated,” she shared. “Transfer students are an integral part of Oregon Tech and we value their experience and the strength they bring to our campus community, so we are happy to still have nearly 500 new transfer students joining us this year.”
Oregon Tech is continuing to serve a large number of Oregonians again this year, 78 percent of the total student population.
As universities across Oregon and the nation experience declines in enrollment amid the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon Tech continues to focus on maintaining a healthy and safe campus community that continues to provide project-based learning on-site. The university has also developed additional scholarships to help address financial concerns of students and their families impacted by COVID-19. Support from Oregon Tech Foundation donors and Oregon Tech alumni enabled Oregon Tech to offer a Helping Owls Scholarship to those students experiencing COVID-19 related financial difficulties. In addition, emergency loans for students have been made available, along with loans for veterans receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill® and VR&E benefits to bridge potential delays in Veterans Affairs benefits.
As Oregon Tech approaches winter term, the university continues to remain vigilant about the health of the campus community and will follow the preventative measures necessary to minimize risk of exposure, and change course delivery methods as necessary. In Klamath Falls, the winter term will mimic the fall term with 100 and 200 level lectures continued to be offered in in-person format, while 300 and 400 level lectures are planned to be remote (primarily synchronous). All labs will be offered in in-person format. Lectures at the Portland-Metro campus will be taught through remote (primarily synchronous) delivery and labs will be offered in in-person format.
Dr. Naganathan added, “As with the remainder of the fall term, our plans for winter term remain subject to change, as the circumstances may demand. It has taken diligent and thoughtful effort on behalf of each person at Oregon Tech to maintain healthy campuses. I am proud of their efforts and my sincere thanks and appreciation goes to every member of the Oregon Tech community.”