Rogers State University has announced a major increase of 18 percent in first-time freshmen and 17 percent in full-time equivalency enrollment for the fall semester, signaling the institution’s successful transition from a community college to a regional four-year university, said RSU President Joe Wiley.
“The significant increase in full-time equivalency enrollment and number of first-time freshmen strongly indicates the university’s highly successful transition from a two-year community college to a four-year regional university,” Wiley said.
Full-time equivalency (FTE) enrollment is based on the total number of student credit hours. This fall, RSU students have enrolled in 28,105 credit hours, compared to 24,093 credit hours last fall. Most community colleges have a large number of part-time students who enroll in fewer credit hours while four-year institutions typically have more full-time students who take more credit hours.
In addition, RSU has posted an overall headcount gain of eight percent, or a total of 2,832 students this fall as compared to 2,622 last fall.
“Not only have more students enrolled at RSU, but they also have enrolled in more credit hours,” Wiley said. “This indicates a major shift in our demographic profile toward a regional university with more traditional, full-time students.”
Wiley said the university prepared for the enrollment increases by scheduling more class sections and hiring more than a dozen new full-time faculty members, all of whom have doctoral degrees or the highest degrees available in their fields.
“The demand for more higher educational opportunities in this part of the state has long been voiced by area residents and employers. Now the demand is being met by RSU,” Wiley said.
Wiley attributes the significant enrollment increases to a variety of factors.
“Many students have been attracted to RSU to pursue one of our new bachelor’s degrees, as well as our highly reputable two-year programs,” Wiley said.
Last fall, RSU began offering bachelor’s degrees in applied technology, business information technology, liberal arts and social sciences. This fall, a fifth bachelor’s degree in biology was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In addition, Wiley says that many students in the Tulsa, Claremore, and northeast Oklahoma areas have selected to enroll in college closer to home.
“Many highly qualified students who may have had to travel farther across the state to attend college have chosen the more convenient and affordable option of studying close to home,” he added. “And many students who may not have attended college at all have decided to take advantage of one of our two or four-year programs.”
Wiley also said that many students have chosen to attend RSU because of the university’s increasing visibility on the higher education landscape and growing reputation for academic excellence.
“Students are beginning to hear about the high-quality academic programs at RSU and have discovered that we have a program to fit their educational interests and career goals,” he said.
RSU also experienced enrollment increases at its branch campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor.
The number of students taking classes via the Internet through the RSU Online program increased by 47 percent, from 428 last fall to 630 this fall.