University enrollment up slightly, World Campus sees growth

October 09, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Overall enrollment at Penn State is up slightly compared with a year ago, with the number of students at University Park seeing a small uptick and World Campus enrollment showing strong growth, according to the annual snapshot taken at the end of the sixth week of fall semester.

University-wide, fall 2015 semester enrollment stands at 97,494, an increase of 1,521 students from last year. At University Park, 46,848 students are enrolled, including students who are studying abroad or participating in other off-campus programs. That’s an increase of 242 students from fall 2014.

The overall enrollment at the Commonwealth Campuses is 30,965, down slightly from 31,041, less than one percent. More students are pursuing four-year degrees and studying at the campuses full time. The number of full-time equivalent, or FTE, enrollments at the campuses is up by 95 compared to last year and enrollment by those earning baccalaureate degrees grew by 350. The number of students pursuing associate degrees has continued to decline as some two-year degrees have been replaced by baccalaureate programs. 

This year’s enrollment snapshot reflects the change in the structure of the law school. Incoming Dickinson Law and Penn State Law students are counted separately, with enrollment of 68 and 177, respectively. In 2014, the University received approval for Penn State Law and Dickinson Law to operate as two independent, fully accredited law schools. Enrollment of “unified” students, who began law school prior to that change, is 373.

The College of Medicine saw an increase of 36 students to 878, which includes 275 graduate students and 603 medical students.

Total graduate, medical and law enrollments increased by 467 from fall 2014 to 14,058 students. That includes an increase of 440 graduate students at World Campus, 367 of whom are enrolled part time.

Including an increase of 997 undergraduate students, World Campus enrollment grew by 1,437 to 12,242, with 81 percent of the online learners attending part time.

Robert Pangborn, vice president and dean for undergraduate education, said that, taken together, these numbers reflect the strong demand for baccalaureate and graduate degrees.

“We continue to have healthy application and enrollment numbers and an increasingly diverse student body,” Pangborn said. “The demand for a Penn State education remains strong, which can be seen in the overall enrollment increase as well as the success of initiatives such as the 2+2 program, which allows students to start a degree at one campus and finish at another, and incoming students at University Park starting in the summer, rather than in the fall.”

Pangborn noted that the University is taking several steps to help keep a college education affordable for students and their families, including rolling out the Pathway to Success: Summer Start Program (PASSS). Offered for the first time this summer at seven Commonwealth Campuses, PASSS provides incoming students with academic and financial support to get them off to a strong start and to help them graduate on time.

The percentage of students who come from Pennsylvania remains steady, making up about 71 percent of undergraduate enrollment University-wide, including the Pennsylvania College of Technology and World Campus. International enrollment continues to grow, with international students University-wide, including World Campus, making up 9.5 percent of total enrollments. The number of students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds stands at 19,328 University-wide.

For a breakdown of enrollments by campus, see the accompanying chart. Detailed information about enrollment is available on the University’s Fact Book website.


Last Updated October 12, 2015