Penn State’s enrollment remains strong in 2023

Campus Park, Pennsylvania — In fall 2023, Penn State accepted 16,239 first-year undergraduate students, and total enrollment at the university is unchanged, according to the University’s annual enrollment snapshot, which was made public today (Nov. 2).

The number of residential underrepresented students enrolled at Penn State has increased for the fifth year running. Since last autumn, the number of entering first-time and transfer undergraduate students from underrepresented groups has increased by 409, or 3.9%.

The overall number of students enrolled at the university for the fall of 2023 was 87,903, which was a 0.2% decrease (213 students) from the fall of 2022. As part of its dedication to the commonwealth and its citizens, Penn State yearly provides education to over 50,000 residents of Pennsylvania.

Provost and executive vice president Justin Schwartz stated, “Penn State remains a destination for students from around the world as well as for Pennsylvanians.” “The best and brightest students continue to be drawn to Penn State by our ranking as one of the top public research universities in the world, our emphasis on student success and economic growth, an extensive range of educational offerings through the Commonwealth Campuses and World Campus, the exceptional caliber of our faculty, and the strength of the Penn State alumni network.”

The enrollment statistics for autumn 2023 also reveals, in comparison to fall 2022:

a total of 334 more students, or 0.7% more, are enrolled in residential instruction at University Park, bringing the total to 48,535.

A minor decline in total enrollment (0.8%, or 231 students) across all 20 Commonwealth Campus sites combined (however this is the lowest year-over-year enrollment percentage fall at the Commonwealth Campuses in the previous five years).

a minor decrease in enrollment overall at Penn State World Campus (3.0%, or 415 students), partly because fewer residential students chose to temporarily switch to remote learning than there was during the epidemic. In World Campus, there were 196 more first-time graduate students and 60 more first-time undergraduate students, representing increases of 18% and 4.5%, respectively.

The total number of enrolled overseas students has almost reached pre-pandemic levels after several years of volatility caused by the pandemic. Since fall 2022, the institution’s total enrollment of international graduate students has increased by 4.1% (or 144 students), offsetting a minor decrease in the number of international students overall (2.5%, or 252 students).

You may find more details about these trends and other enrollment statistics on the Penn State Data Digest website and below.

The university’s primary goal is still to increase enrollment. The University is shifting to a more coordinated and integrated approach to serving and retaining students, with a focus on a data-centric, research-based approach to its enrollment management and student recruitment efforts, according to Matt Melvin, vice president for enrollment management, in a June leadership update. This will help promote enrollment growth.

Melvin, who oversaw the establishment of the Office of Enrollment Management in August 2022, stated, “The opportunity to grow student numbers beyond attracting and retaining traditional-aged college students,” is one of the University’s primary enrollment endeavors. “This comprises adult learners, community college transfers, overseas students, and people who may have enrolled in college but not completed their degree.”

Enrollment of underrepresented students rises for the fifth year in a row.

Over the past five years, there has been a consistent increase in the proportion of students from underrepresented backgrounds. Underrepresented students make up 15.3% of all students at the university in fall 2023, up from 14.7% in fall 2022. These students self-identify as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native Alaskan, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander at enrollment.Compared to 17.6% of the 2022 cohort, 18.1% of the 2023 cohort of first-time undergraduate students at the university are from underrepresented backgrounds.

Vice Provost for Educational Equity Marcus Whitehurst attributes this continuous growth to several initiatives, such as the University’s participation in the Student Admissions Common Application, which broadens the applicant pool; the strategic use of recruitment centers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to reach out to diverse communities throughout the Commonwealth; and Penn State’s adaptable Commonwealth Campus and World Campus structure, which improves accessibility.

“Penn State’s continued commitment to developing a diverse student base is the reason for the five-year trend in underrepresented student enrollment growth,” stated Whitehurst. We are happy to see this significant and encouraging enrollment trend continue. “Led by President Bendapudi’s goal to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), our dedication to providing access to a quality education to students from all backgrounds is steadfast.”

In order to provide university-wide metrics for tracking students, professors, and staff with an emphasis on historically underrepresented or marginalized groups, a newly designed DEIB dashboard made its debut in February.

Aims are made to stop losses at Commonwealth Campuses.

In comparison to the previous year, the Commonwealth Campuses witnessed a little decline in enrolment of 0.8% (231 students), totaling 28,558 in autumn 2023. This shows encouraging progress in contrast to a recent pattern of considerably sharper declines at the University’s Commonwealth Campuses. At the Commonwealth Campuses, the number of first-time and transfer students enrolled increased by 1.2% (102 students).

The Commonwealth Campus Digital Learning Cooperative, an administrative tool that helps campuses and colleges share online, hybrid, and video courses across Penn State campuses, and expanded access through admission pathways are two of the reasons for the progress, according to Margo DelliCarpini, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor.

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Campuses enable Penn State to be present throughout the state. According to DelliCarpini, they “provide innovative partnerships, contribute more than $1.2 billion annually to the state’s economy, and extend the University’s educational and experiential opportunities to students across the commonwealth.” They are also the intellectual and cultural centers of their towns. “The crucial role our campuses play in advancing Penn State’s mission on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania is highlighted by the fact that 80% of Commonwealth Campus students are Pennsylvania residents and that nearly half of all first-year undergraduate students begin their Penn State educational experience at a Commonwealth Campus.”

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