Delaware County growth driving campus enrollment jump
Written by Anthony Carter
and published by The Marion Star
Friday, September 6, 2019
MARION — A total of 1,275 students are enrolled for classes this fall at The Ohio State University at Marion. That marks an increase of 1.8 percent over the fall term of 2018 when the school boasted an enrollment of 1,252 students, according to Matt Moreau, director of financial aid and institutional research. It's the fourth consecutive year that fall enrollment has trended upward at Ohio State Marion.
Moreau said Ohio State Marion officials credit local affordable housing options as one of the reasons for the uptick in enrollment in recent years.
"Since the Annex (of Marion at 258 University Drive) and the Harding Centre (267 W. Center Street in downtown Marion) started giving students from outside of our traditional service area a place to live, we've seen an increase," he said.
Ohio State Marion's service area includes Marion, Crawford, Delaware, Franklin, Hardin, Morrow, Union, and Wyandot counties, Moreau said. Historically, the majority of the student population has come from Marion County, but that changed this fall.
"This year, it's Delaware, both on the new student side and overall," Moreau said. "We've got 362 students from Delaware County. That's up from 316 last fall. From Marion, we've got 337 students this semester. Last fall, it was 367. So, that's been a bit of a shift, but it was expected, because Delaware County is the fastest growing county in the state of Ohio by a long shot."
Moreau said Ohio State Marion officials expect to see the student population from Delaware County continue to increase.
"The student population at Ohio State Marion includes residents of 53 of Ohio's 88 counties."
The growth there is just unbelievable, especially in the Olentangy (Local School) District," he said. "Now they've got a fourth high school and Olentangy Berlin has a senior class this fall, so I think we'll continue to see more and more growth coming out of the Olentangy schools."
Following Delaware and Marion, the other counties in the Ohio State Marion service area providing the most students are, in order, Union, Franklin, and Wyandot, followed by Morrow, Crawford, and Hardin.
Moreau said the current student population at Marion includes residents of 53 of Ohio's 88 counties. At this time last year, Ohio State Marion had students from 48 Ohio counties.
Student retention continues to be a main focus for the entire Ohio State University system, Moreau said. The total retention rate from first to second-year students is about 74 percent. He said officials at Ohio State Marion have taken a direct approach to the issue.
"We expanded our retention staff last year," Moreau said. "We're pretty assertive with what's called 'intrusive advising.' A couple of weeks into the semester, if students aren't attending classes, if they're not doing well, we're getting in touch with them and encouraging them to get the help they need and take advantage of the resources. We want to make sure they're successful."
Minority enrollment figures also grew this year, Moreau said, accounting for 19.2 percent of the student body. At the same time last year, minority enrollment was 16.7 percent. Moreau said 66 percent of the 2019 freshman class stated that Ohio State Marion was their first-choice selection when applying to college. Females comprise 51 percent of the student population, while males make up the other 49 percent, Moreau noted. The average age for an Ohio State Marion student is 21.5 years old.
Moreau said 33 percent of students at Ohio State Marion identified themselves as first-generation college students from their families.