OU 19th in nation in enrollment growth

ATHENS — Ohio University has again been named the 19th fastest-growing institution in the United States by the The Chronicle of Higher Education, a Washington D.C.-based publication and a leading source of news and information for college and university faculty and administrators.

This latest recognition marks the third consecutive year that The Chronicle has identified Ohio University as one of the nation’s fastest-growing public doctoral institutions.

Additionally, OU was the only university to be ranked within the state of Ohio; it was also one of only two Midwest colleges to be listed this year.

“As I am discovering myself in the early months of my presidency, Ohio University is a very special place. This continued recognition for the third straight year proves that more and more people are also arriving at this same realization,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “During a time when students have a wide variety of universities they can choose from, I believe the reason Ohio University continues to rise to the top is because we are one of the few institutions offering such a strong level of academic excellence at such an affordable price.”

The Chronicle’s rankings were based on a comparison of student enrollment growth between 2005 and 2015.

During this period, Ohio University’s total enrollment* grew from 20,461 students in the fall of 2005 to 29,157 in the fall of 2015, an increase of nearly 43 percent.

Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management Craig Cornell said that Ohio University’s record enrollment growth during the past few years can be attributed to a number of efforts, including the University’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan and its continued focus on enhancing student access through cost predictability, transparency and affordability.

One of OU’s flagship efforts for improving student affordability is its guaranteed tuition model – The Ohio Guarantee. The Guarantee provides increased financial predictability to students and parents, maintains the value of financial aid and offers an incentive for students to earn a degree in four years.

OU has also established the Ohio Signature Awards Program, a set of scholarships and grants designed to optimally balance both support for financial need and recognition of the achievements and contributions of the new, incoming freshman class. The Ohio Signature Awards program provided institutional merit and need-based funding to 81 percent of the incoming freshman class on the Athens Campus in 2016-17.

“These efforts and more have enabled us to do something that’s quite unique within the higher education landscape,” said Cornell. “We’ve not only improved our enrollments in terms of student quality and diversity, but we’ve experienced growth in first-generation and Appalachian regional students as well.”

Cornell added that OU’s collaborative approach to its strategic development process, which included input from the Board of Trustees, numerous deans, faculty, administration, staff and more, has played an integral role in enrollment growth.

“The innovations that are occurring, both inside and outside of the classroom, were significant drivers to this recognition,” Cornell said. “The development of online learning opportunities, our academic program enhancements, the expansion of our Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Ohio Guarantee and our financial aid growth are all ways in which Ohio has been able to enhance student access while also maintaining its core mission of educational excellence.”