Southeastern News

Southeastern fall enrollment reaches highest level in 40 years with 4,483 students

Southeastern president Sean Burrage offers remarks at a recent Faculty-Staff meeting.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage offers remarks at a recent Faculty-Staff meeting.

By UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS

DURANT, Okla. – In July, Southeastern Oklahoma State University announced it would not be increasing tuition costs for the first time since 2009-2010. This was certainly good news for students and their parents, as of the 25 public colleges and universities in Oklahoma, Southeastern was one of only six to hold the line on tuition.

And the news keeps getting better.

University officials announced today that with 4,483 students, fall enrollment has reached its highest level in 40 years, according to reports.  Records also indicate this ranks among the highest-ever enrollment totals documented in the 109-year history of the institution.

This fall’s enrollment total (Headcount) represents an increase of 13.3 percent over Fall 2017.

Significant enrollment increases occurred this fall at both the graduate and freshman level.

“As an institution, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions over the past four years and our faculty and staff have been unwavering in their support,’’ said Southeastern fifth-year president Sean Burrage. “To meet the challenges of reduced state funding and declining enrollment, we’ve had to think outside the box.

“As the higher education model changes, we are adjusting to meet the needs of our students.  For example, there is great demand today for online learning opportunities. Students are looking for flexibility as they balance their academic schedules with work and various family responsibilities. As a result, in addition to traditional face-to-face classroom instruction, we are also offering a number of academic programs completely online, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, and at a competitive cost.  These online programs are playing a significant role in our overall enrollment growth.’’

The University began expanding its online programs in Fall 2016. And because many of the programs are completely online, students do not have to live within commuting distance of Durant, thereby broadening the recruiting base.

Significant increases in enrollment were seen in the Master of Business Administration, Master of Education in School Counseling, Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Education in Special Education, and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

Burrage noted that enrollment numbers are also up at the freshman level, including significant increases in Bryan County and north Texas, which is more cause for optimism.

The freshmen enrollment increases over last fall are as follows:

  • Freshman students:  13.0% (600 students — largest class in six years)
  • Bryan County freshmen: 28.7%
  • Grayson County (Texas) freshmen: 26.7%
With 600 students, Southeastern is welcoming its largest freshman class in six years.

With 600 students, Southeastern is welcoming its largest freshman class in six years.

“We are intensifying our recruiting efforts to attract more students from our immediate service area,’’ he said, “and we’re beginning to see some results, which is very encouraging.’’

Approximately 85 percent of Southeastern students receive financial aid, and more than 50 percent annually are first-generation college graduates.

“We believe we offer quality academic programs that are both affordable and accessible to students,’’ Burrage. “This message appears to be well-received by our prospective students. As a University, we want to continue build on this growth, while not sacrificing quality.’’