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A high-level look at enrollment in Oregon, 2011-2021

As we emerge from the pandemic (at least it seems we have; others are not so sure), patterns of enrollment in the state of Oregon are emerging.  And, in general, they seem to be something we residents of the state might want to address collectively.  The causes are complex, of course, and exacerbated by COVID; on the other hand, they have been a long time in coming, akin to Senge's boiling frog analogy.

See for yourself.  The view below includes odd-numbered years of enrollment in Oregon, via three views: Four-year publics; community colleges (the largest individually and the smallest rolled into one); and the state's largest four-year private colleges and universities. You can use the filters to choose student level (graduate or undergraduate); status (full- or part-time), gender, and ethnicity, in any combination.  You can see both raw numbers and percentage change since 2011.

Before you do that, however, you might want to spend some time with a few resources:  The SHEF site is really a great place to see how Oregon stacks up against other states and national averages.  This page, for instance, summarizes Oregon investments in post-secondary education.  And their report is excellent; I recommend you go through it at some point if you care about higher education in the state. 

From this blog post on first-year student migration, you can see that Oregon has shown a big increase in student exports: In 1986, Oregon ranked 28th nationally, exporting about 19% of first-year students to other states.  By 2020, we had risen to 16th, exporting 33%.

And here, you can see that the top five destinations of Oregon students (Washington, California, Idaho, New York, and Arizona) enrolled 1,151 Oregonians in 1986; in 2020, the top five states (all the same expect Utah replaced New York) enrolled 2,533.

The enrollment pattern is even more pronounced when you consider that between 2011 and 2022, Oregon's high school graduate population increased by over 12%, from just over 37,000 to almost 42,000.

I hope you find this helpful, and especially, I hope you consider this worthy of your attention. Dive into this data and let me know what you see that is of interest to you.