Annual enrollment snapshot released, University sees slight decline

November 28, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s overall enrollment saw a slight decrease during the past year, according to the annual enrollment census released by the University today (Nov. 28).

Across Penn State, the fall 2018 enrollment is 97,136, down by 1.7 percent from the previous year.  At the University Park campus, enrollment remained about steady, with 46,270 students, compared to 46,610 last year.  Overall enrollment at the 19 undergraduate Commonwealth Campuses declined by a total of 5 percent to 28,861, compared to numbers from 2017. 

“Enrollments at the campuses have seen periodic ups and downs from year to year, but the trend over 20 years has been quite stable,” said Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for undergraduate education. “What we are seeing recently in our Commonwealth Campuses is not different from what many of our peer institutions have experienced across the state and especially in the northeastern part of the country.”

Pangborn said a number of factors can impact enrollment at any institution — population decline, demographic shifts, low unemployment rates and increased competition for students from both in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities. 

Penn State’s reported undergraduate enrollment for fall 2018 includes over 16,000 entering, first-year students at University Park (8,138 new students), the Commonwealth Campuses (7,609 new students) and the World Campus (387 new students). In the 2019 recruitment cycle currently underway, Penn State is participating in the Common Application and has implemented a new ‘Early Action’ admission process and earlier communication of student aid awards.   

Enrollment at other Penn State locations grew over the past year, including at both Penn State Law and Dickinson Law (6.7 percent combined enrollment growth); Penn State Great Valley (3.6 percent increase); the College of Medicine (1.5 percent increase); and Penn State World Campus (1.1 percent increase). Graduate enrollments at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses grew by a little less than 1 percent. 

The makeup of the student population has remained constant as well.  Across the University, underrepresented groups (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) constitute 12.5 percent of the student population, and international students comprise 10.7 percent.  The proportions of Pennsylvania-resident undergraduates at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses remained nearly steady at 58 percent and 82 percent, respectively.     

The latest figures can be found online at the Penn State Factbook at


Last Updated November 28, 2018