Oklahoma State University is preparing to welcome its largest, most diverse freshman class in history.
With 4,668-plus first-time freshmen enrolled, the class of 2026 eclipses previous records and represents an increase of more than 9% over last year’s freshman enrollment for the fall semester.
The OSU Honors College also set a new enrollment record for the second consecutive year with 3,096 total enrollees. Other notable highlights include online enrollment, which increased nearly 26% compared to last year, and enrollment in STEM programs, which increased more than 11% compared to 2021, besting the previous record established in 2017.
New enrollment of first-generation students has risen more than 7%, and the number of OSU freshmen emerging from the top 5% of their high school class reached a new record, leaping 2% over the previous record established last fall. Transfer student enrollment also saw an increase. Year-to-year retention totals have hit a new high, as well, and OSU has posted its second highest retention rate on record, with nearly 84% of students returning to enroll at OSU and a record number of new students returning for their second year.
OSU’s total enrollment for the fall semester is up 4% over last year — 24,692 students — and includes students from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 113 countries.
“We were expecting to have record-setting freshman enrollment this semester, but to surpass the previous record by more than 375 students is truly remarkable,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “This historic milestone is a testament to the strength of our academic programs, dedicated faculty and staff, and our unwavering commitment to provide a world-class education that empowers our students to learn, grow and succeed. It’s a great time to be a Cowboy. With the upcoming release of our new strategy, we’re primed to continue to elevate the prestige and impact of our modern land-grant institution to serve the needs of the state, nation and world.”
Karen Chen, OSU vice president of enrollment management, echoed Shrum’s excitement.
“We’re thrilled to welcome this historic freshman class to the Cowboy family,” Chen said. “We're celebrating a monumental achievement for freshman enrollment, exceeding the previous record by over 375 new students. We are also excited to recognize the record retention numbers and significant increases in overall student enrollment. There's so much momentum and excitement surrounding the university right now as we continue to explore new ways to enhance our institution, our facilities and academic programs, and, most importantly, the student experience.”