It is time, once again, to discuss USAO’s enrollment figures. Overall, a single theme is evident to describe these figures, and that is the theme of increased stability. It seems that after a number of years of pretty steady declines in enrollment, we may be entering into a period of relative stability, or at the very least reduced enrollment losses. Without diving into the potential causes of these enrollment figures, which are complex and likely include demographic, cultural or structural changes of myriad flavors, I will briefly describe our current enrollments compare to our observations from previous years.
Beginning with our enrollment figures overall, we see a small decrease (just above 1%) in headcount from last year. A closer examination of these figures demonstrates that this decreased headcount is driven by further reductions in part-time enrolments, though some full time enrollment declines are evident. Figure 1 demonstrates this trend for the past few years.
Examining the gender diversity of USAO, we again see relatively minor changes. The gap between females and males seems to increase but just a little bit. A closer look reveals that this year USAO enrolled 1 more female than last year, but lost a few males. This gender difference has been evident for many years, perhaps as the result of our unique history in the state, but is likely also a reflection of a larger and more current national trend. Figure 2 provides a broader view of USAO’s gender diversity.
The final comparison for the current discussion revolves around our student’s geographic diversity. As I did last year, I have assigned each of our students to one of three (3) categories, describing their place of origin. The first category includes all students from Grady County (our local county in Oklahoma). As figure 3 illustrates, we have fewer local students this year as we did last year. As with other comparisons, this year’s decrease is considerably smaller than in more recent years. We see a similar pattern when we examine students from other Oklahoma counties. In contrast to our more local enrollments, we see increased enrollments from other states and countries. This is the fourth consecutive increase in this category and serves to partially offset some of our enrollment reductions.