Penn State Intercom......October 23, 2002

Enrollment stays within
plans for modest growth

Minority enrollment hits all-time high

Following a year of record applications to the University, Penn State has seen enrollment growth continue its upward trend, setting a new record while staying within the University's plans of controlled and modest growth.

According to official figures tabulated by the Office of Enrollment Management, enrollment at the University's 24 locations has reached 83,038 students this fall -- an increase of 1,334 students (1.6 percent) over 2001-2002. At the University Park campus enrollment has grown to 41,445, an increase of 617 students (1.5 percent).

"These latest enrollment figures demonstrate that the high demand and value placed in a Penn State education are stronger than ever," said President Graham B. Spanier. "We continue to be one of the nation's most popular universities, and we are pleased that the incoming class this fall was more diverse and more talented than ever."

The new enrollment figures reflect a continuing effort by the University to maintain steady enrollment at the University Park campus while fostering modest growth at other campus locations. In 1996, Penn State restructured its statewide system to provide increased opportunities to upper-division students so that they could complete their degrees at a campus other than University Park.

"For the past several years, our plan to keep University Park enrollment stable while enhancing opportunities for upper division students at other campus locations to continue and complete their studies at that campus has successfully evolved," said John Romano, vice provost and dean for enrollment management.

This year, 914 more undergraduate students are enrolled University-wide -- a total of 71,301 students (34,829 at University Park). Graduate student enrollment increased by 420 over last year, to a total of 11,737 (6,616 at University Park).

Enrollment in the University's College of Medicine in Hershey grew by 26 students to 675 for 2002-2003, while Penn State's Dickinson School of Law grew by 60 students to an enrollment of 601. The most marked growth occurred at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, where 5,963 are now enrolled -- an increase of 425 students over last year, or 7.7 percent.

Minority enrollment at the University grew at a higher rate than overall enrollment. Total minority enrollment at all campuses is 9,352, an increase of 483 students (5 percent) over last year. At University Park, minority enrollment stands at 4,960, an increase of 271 students (6 percent). Minority students system-wide comprise nearly 11.3 percent of the overall student population and more than 11.9 percent of the University Park student body.

"Penn State's attraction for minorities is similar to what makes it attractive to many young people -- convenient locations around the Commonwealth, an internationally recognized name for high quality and the broad number of research activities in which undergraduate students can get involved," said Terrell Jones, vice provost for educational equity.

A further breakdown on enrollment figures can be found online under the “Students” section of the Penn State Fact Book at

For a pdf version of the enrollment graphics, click here.

Minority enrollment
hits all-time high

As has occurred every year for more than a decade, enrollment of minority students at the University has increased again.

Minority enrollment increased 5 percent, or by 483 students, over the numbers for fall 2001. There are now 9,352 minority students attending the University's 24 locations around the Commonwealth.

The number of African-American students attending Penn State increased by 167 this year, with 79 additional African-American students at the University Park campus. The increase represents a 5 percent gain in African-American students at University Park, for a new total of 1,654. There are a total of 3,741 African-American students attending all Penn State locations this year.

"Penn State continues to be one of the key educators of minorities in Pennsylvania higher education," said Terrell Jones, vice provost for educational equity.

"The real keys to our enrollment success are our high minority student retention and graduation rates," Jones said. "Penn State has the highest African-American graduation rate in the Big Ten. That means we have a good understanding of the campus climate, faculty involvement and student support services necessary for student success."

Undergraduate students at Penn State have participated in teams preparing experiments for space shuttle launches; helped design fuel-efficient automobiles; studied with teams on overseas projects; and taken on other roles in the half-billion dollars in annual research that occurs at Penn State.

"We think a Penn State education prepares students in a unique way for succeeding in their lives after graduation day," Jones said.

Overall enrollment at Penn State is 83,038 students this year. Other minority enrollment figures include: 3,527 Asian/Pacific Islander; 1,944 Hispanic; and 140 Native American.

For a pdf version of the enrollment graphics, click here.