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University enrollment projected to increase

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

PSUcampus.jpg Portland State University's fall 2007
enrollment was almost 25,000 students.

STATEWIDE This fall, the Oregon University System expects another increase in enrollment, even though lenders of federally backed student loans are becoming more selective with their money in the ongoing credit crisis.

Last month Eastern Oregon University — a less selective, lower-tier school — said it had been dropped by some lenders. If the trend spreads to other schools, some prospective Oregon students, especially the neediest, could find it more difficult to get financing for tuition and housing costs, thus affecting enrollment.

OUS Board President Kirby Dyess calls the trend a “concern,” but says state initiatives like last year’s $50 million funding boost of the Oregon Opportunity Grant for middle and low-income students and the increased use of Oregon’s 529 Plan — a state-run college savings plan — should offset the downshift in the student loan industry.

And a down economy can mean more students, Dyess says. Students view it as an ideal to time to enhance their job marketability by gaining new skills or more education, she says. Initial data suggests a spike in state resident and first-generation college students.

Final enrollment figures will not be available until fall. Last year OUS reported a 1.5% nudge in enrollment, from 81,002 to 82,249.


JASON SHUFFLER


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