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Ohio State reports record-high enrollment for first-year and minority students

Report includes key data on students at all levels across all campuses

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, The Ohio State University recruited a record-high number of new first-year students this academic year.

The university set enrollment records for undergraduate students on the Columbus campus, as well as female and minority enrollment across all campuses.

“We are encouraged to see that this class is among the most diverse and talented in university history,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “Ohio State remains committed to a diverse, inclusive and vibrant environment for all our members of our university community. We know we have more work to do, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and continue the hard work together.”

The new numbers are part of the Autumn Semester Enrollment Report released today. The report includes key data about Ohio State’s undergraduate, graduate and professional students on the Columbus and regional campuses.

“From my perspective, given all of the potential problems that dealing with a pandemic could have created for us, we’re really excited about some of our record highs,” said Stephanie Sanders, associate vice president for strategic enrollment planning in the Office of Student Academic Success.

Some of the highlights in the report include:

  • New first-year students at Ohio State increased to a record-high 11,318 (+6.0%).
  • Undergraduate students at the Columbus campus increased to a record-high 46,984 (+0.4%).
  • Total female student enrollment at all campuses and all levels increased to a record-high 35,100 (+1.2%).
  • Total Hispanic student enrollment at all campuses and all levels increased to 3,550 (+7.3%).
  • African American student enrollment at all campuses and all levels increased to 5,013 (+8.1%).
  • The total number of minority students enrolled at all campuses and all levels increased to 16,246 (+6.3%).

Sanders said the record levels of minority enrollment are part of a continuing effort to increase diversity, access and affordability at Ohio State.

“This has been an effort at the undergraduate level. It’s been an effort at the graduate level. It’s been an effort at all campuses,” she said. “It’s a combination of several years of success in recruiting and enrolling new students and success in improving retention in those populations as well. It’s not a culmination of our efforts, because we’re not done. But we are absolutely seeing the fruits of our labor over the last several years.”

Total enrollment across all campuses is 67,957. That’s down about 305 students, or 0.4%, from 2019. Total enrollment on the Columbus campus remained stable, at 61,369. Overall enrollment at the university’s regional campuses declined about 4%.

The current first-year class continues the university trend of attracting talented classes each year with an average ACT score of 28.8 and 91% of the students in the top 25% of their high school class.

Sanders said the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions and embassy closings led to a decline in international students at all levels. Total international student enrollment is now 5,580, a decline of about 15% from 2019.

The university continues its mission to educate the students from the state of Ohio. In-state undergraduate enrollment rose this year to a total of 42,288, a 0.5% increase over 2019.

The report reflects a dedicated effort to make students and their families comfortable with the benefits of Ohio State at a time when official tours and visits to the university for new students were suspended because of the pandemic. Sanders said admissions officials are certain that some of the students enrolled never had an opportunity to set foot on campus before the academic year started.

“There’s a new urgency for all of us to check in with people to make sure that needs are being met,” she said.

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