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Southeastern enrollment surpasses 5,000 students for first time in history

September 25, 2020

Enrollment is at an all-time this fall at Southeastern with 5,339 students.

DURANT, Okla. – Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment continues to grow at a record-setting rate at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

For the first time since the school opened its doors in 1909, enrollment has topped  the 5,000 mark. This fall, Southeastern’s enrollment is 5,339 students, representing  the largest enrollment in school history, while surpassing last fall’s previous high water mark of 4,824 students.

It represents an increase of 10.7% (an additional 515 students) in headcount over last fall’s enrollment. In addition, student credit hours increased 6.7% over last fall.

“This continued enrollment growth is a direct result of the efforts of our faculty and staff,’’ said Southeastern president Thomas Newsom. “They deserve a lot of credit, not only for ensuring a smooth transition to virtual learning last March, but for planning and preparing for a return to face-to-face instruction this fall. We are excited about the positive momentum that is in place, as well as the possibility for future growth at Southeastern.’’

Enrollment growth continued to soar at the graduate level (25.8 %), but also increased at the undergraduate level (2.6%) as well.

Significant growth was reflected in the Master of Education program, the Master of Science in Sports Administration, the Master of Business Administration, and the Master of Science in Native American Leadership. At the undergraduate level, increases were notable in the business and occupational safety & health programs.

The University offers 45 degree programs in face-to-face and online formats.

Another factor Newsom believes figures into the growth is the fact that Southeastern continues to offer a quality higher education at an affordable cost.

This year, for the third year in a row, Southeastern did not raise tuition or fees. In addition, room and board charges remained flat with no increases.

“In light of the challenges our students and their families have faced dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe holding the line on costs is the right thing to do,’’ Newsom said. “From a revenue and budget standpoint, we are fortunate to be in a good position due to our sustained enrollment growth over the last three years. It is also important to note that our budget (Fiscal Year 2021) continues to support those services directly impacting academics and student success.’’

Currently, 85% of Southeastern students receive some form of financial aid, and each year, about 50 percent of graduates are first-generation college graduates.

In other efforts to assist students, the University previously announced a $1,500 tuition waiver for all first-time, fulltime freshmen from Oklahoma this fall; the awarding of an automatic Associate Tuition Waiver Scholarship of $1,000 per semester to students who hold an Associate of Arts or Science degree; the availability of seven Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarships, providing  full tuition plus $3,000 per year towards expenses for four years; the expansion of a policy that provides all out-of-state students, both undergraduate and graduate, an automatic 100% non-resident tuition waiver each semester;  an increase in the Southeastern employee/dependent tuition benefit for all full-time employees; and the distribution of $1,059,075 to Southeastern students as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In addition to quality and affordability, Newsom notes accessibility has also played a key role in Southeastern’s growth.

“The higher education model has changed dramatically over the past few years,’’ he said. “In addition to traditional face-to-face classes, we offer many programs online at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs continue to show growth and we will continue to be responsive to the needs of our students.’’

In addition to the main campus in Durant, Southeastern has a branch campus in McCurtain County and offers various classes/programs at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore, Eastern Oklahoma State College branch campus at McAlester, Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College in Midwest City, and Grayson College in Denison, Texas.