Enrollment hits record high, success metrics continue climb

Posted: November 1, 2023

More students are enrolled in The Ohio State University College of Engineering than ever before.

The new record was revealed in the university’s Autumn Semester Enrollment Report, which includes key statistics about Ohio State’s undergraduate, graduate and professional students on the Columbus and regional campuses.

In 2023, total College of Engineering enrollment—including undergraduate and graduate students across all campuses—rose to 11,111 students, a 3.3% increase from 2022.

Dean Ayanna Howard with Buckeye Solar Racing team in motorsports garage
Dean Howard visits with Buckeye Solar Racing student team members in the motorsports garage.

“These numbers reflect our unwavering commitment to increase access to all students in providing a pathway to engineering, while maintaining our standard of excellence,” said Dean Ayanna Howard. “This growth signifies a major accomplishment towards our goal of creating a culture of collaboration and inclusion for everyone.”

The College of Engineering’s undergraduate enrollment on the Columbus campus rose 2.2% to 8,567. Collectively on the Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark campuses, it jumped 32% from 480 to a record 632. A total of 2,311 female undergraduates are enrolled, a 5.3% increase. Total graduate student enrollment rose slightly to 1,912.

New initiatives across the regional campuses are helping to drive student growth. Ohio State Newark experienced significant new, first-year student enrollment due, in part, to the introduction of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program on its campus. This program, now offered on each of the regional campuses, integrates business and leadership principles with engineering skills in support of the market as it prepares for the arrival of new Intel chip fabrication plants in Ohio.

Minority undergraduate and graduate enrollment also increased in 2023.

  • Total Black or African American student enrollment in the College of Engineering at all campuses and all levels increased to a record high of 707, up 11.9% since last year. This includes 647 undergraduates and 60 graduate students.
  • Total Hispanic student enrollment in the College of Engineering at all campuses and all levels rose 7.2% since 2022 to a record 523. This includes 450 undergraduates and 73 graduate students.
  • Total Asian student enrollment in the College of Engineering a­­t all campuses and all levels grew 12.4% since 2022 to 1,466.
  • Total first-generation College of Engineering undergraduate enrollment at all campuses rose to 1,873, a 7.6% increase since 2022.

The new first-year students are also academically gifted. Of the engineering students on the Columbus campus, 97.3% are in the top 25% of their high school class and 74.8% are in the top 10%. Of the Knowlton School students majoring in architecture, landscape architecture and city and regional planning, all are in the top 25% of their high school class, with 87.5% in the top 10%.

Student success metrics in the College of Engineering saw positive results as well. In 2023, the first-year retention rate—the percentage of incoming freshman that continue in engineering for the fall semester of their second year—was 86.5%, setting a new record. The second-year retention rate of 78.7% was only slightly less than the record set last year, while third year retention reached a record high of 74.2%. Similarly, the six-year graduation rate jumped to a record-breaking 70.3%.

For comparison, results from a 2021 American Society for Engineering Education survey indicated a first-year retention average of 81.9% and six-year graduation average of 55.2% among all engineering schools that self-reported.

A new direct admission-to-major process and summer bridge programs for rising first-year and second-year engineering students have both contributed to retention and graduation rate growth among undergraduates.