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.’’

Graduate school shows impressive growth with new online programs in Business, Education

DURANT, Okla. – Earlier this fall, Southeastern Oklahoma State University reported an increase of  6% in enrollment over last fall.

Southeastern’s official fall 2017 enrollment is 3,956 students and

represents the largest overall enrollment at the University since 2012.  In addition, Southeastern experienced an increase of 3.2% in student credit hours this fall, a critical component in the state funding formula.

The enrollment increase included gains in a number of categories, including new freshmen, Bryan County freshmen, Texas freshmen, and transfer students.

But the most significant growth came in the graduate school with the recent introduction of online programs in business and education to complement popular degrees in such areas as aviation sciences, Native American Leadership, and occupational safety & health, to name just a few.

According to Dr. Tim Boatmun, Dean of the Graduate School/E-Programming and Academic Support, enrollment in the Graduate School is 64% higher than last fall, while the Master of Business Administration saw an increase of 134% (408 students this fall compared to 174 last fall).

The University has also revamped its Master of Education programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, School Counseling, and Educational Leadership  this fall. All programs are now 100% online.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage, who is in his fourth year at the University, said that online degree programs are greatly impacting colleges and universities across the nation, particularly at the graduate level.

“In today’s world of higher education, there is great demand for online learning opportunities,’’ he said. “The higher education model is changing, and our faculty members deserve a great deal of credit for adapting to this change. We expect this trend (in online delivery) to continue as we explore the possibility of offering additional academic programs online.’’

To that end, in January, 2018, the Master of Science in Sports Administration will begin being offered 100% online.

In addition to the convenience of online delivery, there is flexibility in scheduling as students have multiple start dates to enter the program throughout the year.  This is important to the large number of students who are balancing family and work responsibilities with classes.

For more information visit www.se.edu/dept/gus  or  www.online.se.edu.