Friday, April 24, 2009
The latest budget news has Oregon State Director of Athletics Bob DeCarolis suggesting that if their recently announced fund raising efforts are not successful the Beavers may be forced to drop teams.
To be sure, fall's exact enrollment numbers won't be in for a few more weeks, as students can still enroll or unenroll from classes. Nonetheless, preliminary numbers suggest Oregon schools have used stimulus dollars and tax measures to make way for tens of thousands of new students this fall.
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For Oregon State University in Corvallis, where the brother-in-law of the current U.S. President coaches basketball, record enrollment has translated to longer lines and greater competition for everything from classes to parking places.
OSU officials say they expect an estimated 24,000 students this year – marking another record enrollment year. Student registrations have grown gradually over the school's 142-year history. However, within the past three years the pace has increased dramatically.
Why the jump? According to The Oregonian, OSU joins other Oregon universities trying harder to retain students. This comes after the newest numbers show one in five freshmen usually quit in the first year. The O also reports such universities as OSU are hiring additional support staff: enlisting more advisers, tutors and mentors and expanding programs to help students manage everything from course load to finances.
This comes as OSU spends its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, including $252 million in federal research grants and contracts earned in 2009. The school's website reports the $252-million amount is "more than that received by all other Oregon public universities combined."
Some of the funding for expansion also came from state stimulus dollars. These funds were approved for "capital construction" projects as part of Oregon Senate Bill 338. For example, OregonLive.com reported that $500,000 in state stimulus money paid for part of a $3.7 million renovation of OSU's Gill Coliseum, where the Beavers play basketball.
The Gazette-Times reports OSU's anticipated 9.2 percent jump from fall 2009's record of 21,969 students would put OSU on track for the school president's envisioned enrollment of 30,000 to 35,000 students by 2025.