Portland State enrolls a record freshmen class
Author: Kenny Ma, PSU Media and Public Relations
Posted: November 7, 2017

This fall, 2,015 freshmen enrolled at Portland State University, the largest entering class in the university’s history. A majority of these new Vikings, who are studying on a full and part-time basis, are from Oregon, but some come from other states and nations.

PSU’s current freshmen enrollment is 8 percent higher than the previous record of 1,870 freshmen who enrolled in 2015.

“We are very pleased and excited to enroll the largest freshmen class in Portland State’s history,” said John Fraire, PSU’s vice president for enrollment and student affairs.

PSU also enrolled 1,216 first-time, full-time resident freshmen in Fall 2017, a 26.5 percent increase over Fall 2016. The biggest reason for the record-breaking enrollment is PSU’s Four Years Free program.

Launched last year, Four Years Free provides grant assistance that fully covers tuition and mandatory fees for low-income state residents who are high achievers.  The program generated buzz about PSU throughout Oregon high schools, resulting in 494 freshmen now enrolled in it.

 “I think the size of the entering freshmen class is a reflection of our well-received Four Years Free program, which presents opportunities for well-deserving high school students who might not have been able to attend a 4-year college without it,” Fraire said. “The increase in freshmen enrollment is also the result of PSU retooling and reorganizing its admissions office to really improve our messaging and communications, so that students are better informed about PSU’s quality of education and affordability.”

Viviana Banda Millan, a freshman from Southern Oregon, said Four Years Free enabled her to pursue dreams of attending a 4-year college.

“I could not afford to come to PSU without it,” she said. “I definitely wouldn't have moved out here.”

Fraire said he hopes these students will succeed in their studies, graduate, find meaningful careers, and be relatively debt-free. Four Years Free, he said, is going to continue for the next several years at least.

PSU's total enrollment (27,305) and enrollment of new transfer students (2,722) in Fall 2017 remained flat over last year. The number of Hispanic students enrolled in Fall 2017 is 3,437, a 12 percent increase over last year.

“Our goals are to increase enrollment numbers, graduation and retention rates, diversity, and the contributions our students, faculty and staff make to Portland and beyond,” Fraire said.

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