Penn State releases annual enrollment snapshot, sees small enrollment decrease

Enrollment across Penn State during the fall 2017 semester was 98,783. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s overall enrollment saw a small decrease in the past year, as the number of students at University Park campus and a few Commonwealth Campuses declined slightly.

University-wide, fall 2017 enrollment stands at 98,783, down by 350 students from last year. At University Park, enrollment decreased by 651 students to 46,610 students. This includes a planned reduction of about 500 undergraduates to balance the larger first-year class that enrolled last year, and a small decrease in the graduate enrollment.

Overall enrollment at Commonwealth Campuses experienced a minor decline to 30,387, compared to 30,970 in fall 2016. Enrollment grew at a number of Penn State locations, including Penn State Brandywine, which added 59 students to 1,438, and Penn State Lehigh Valley, which grew by 42 students to 919.

Penn State’s World Campus continues to grow, adding 890 students to increase its enrollment to 14,301 students, including 8,513 pursuing undergraduate degrees and 5,788 pursuing graduate degrees.

Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education, said the enrollment trends continue to be consistent with recent years, with students opting for four-year degrees over associate degree programs and steady increases in online enrollments. “The continued development of a spectrum of baccalaureate programs at the Commonwealth Campuses has served our students well, offering flexible options and the opportunity to complete their degrees locally. The role of the Commonwealth Campuses in offering online courses has also served to address the growing demand from online learners and contributed to the expansion of the World Campus,” he said.

Penn State’s two law schools experienced enrollment increases this year, with Dickinson Law up by 71 students to 194 and Penn State Law up 97 students to 485.

The College of Medicine also saw an increase of 33 students from 896 to 929.

Diversity at Penn State continues to grow. University-wide, including World Campus, 21.2 percent of all students have diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The proportion of undergraduate students who come from Pennsylvania dipped slightly to 68.5 percent, not including the World Campus and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

International enrollment continues to grow University-wide, including the World Campus, making up 10.3 percent of total enrollment, compared to 10 percent the previous year.

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

Last Updated November 06, 2017