OHIO brings in record-setting first year class to Athens Campus

It’s official – OHIO has welcomed the largest first-year class of students in the institution’s 218-year history.

Staff Reports | September 8, 2022


The anticipation for Fall Semester 2022 has been building for some time, and now it’s official – Ohio University has welcomed the largest first-year class of students in the institution’s 218-year history.

It’s one of the most accomplished cohorts to enter, as well, with a record-high incoming average high school GPA and more students than ever enrolled in OHIO’s honors and scholars programs. The University also enrolled more students from underrepresented groups in its incoming class, including a record number of Hispanic/Latinx students. And total enrollment in non-nursing OHIO Online undergraduate programs jumped again.

“We are thrilled that so many incredibly accomplished students have selected our University, and our focus now is on ensuring we connect each of them with the kind of transformational experiences that we are known for at OHIO,” said President Hugh Sherman. “Each of them is destined for their own unique success stories that will become a part of our shared Bobcat identity.”

Athens incoming first-year enrollment jumps 21 percent

In total, the Athens Campus welcomed the largest ever freshman class at 4,441 incoming first-year students, a 21 percent increase from 2021. The class includes the highest number of Ohio residents on record at 3,908, as well as 679 children of OHIO alumni and more than 1,100 students who will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. 

In addition, the Athens campus welcomed 310 new students transferring to the University, on par with 2021 numbers.

In all, there are 14,684 undergraduates and 2,194 graduate students enrolled in Athens Campus programs, hailing from all of Ohio’s 88 counties, 49 different states, and 101 countries.

Students walking from the convocation center to activity fair

Highest average high school GPA on record; honors and scholars programs grow again

The incoming Athens Campus cohort has the highest average high school GPA on record since the University began tracking, with a 3.64 GPA. The class includes 153 students joining the first cohort of the University’s new competitive 1804 Scholars program, as well as 437 new freshmen in the selective, University-wide OHIO Honors program. A total of 1,228 undergraduates are now enrolled in OHIO Honors, a new high. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the incoming Athens campus first-year students ranked in the top 10 percent of their class, with 129 students ranked number one at their school.

Biology students working in a lab with a professor
Student looking at a molecular science model on a computer screen
Two students in Scripps College of Communication sitting and talking at mics on a desk mic stand

Increase in underrepresented students, record Hispanic/Latinx numbers

The Athens Campus set a new record for incoming first-year students identifying as Hispanic/Latinx, with 198 students, a 32 percent increase over 2021 and 4.5 percent of the total incoming first-year class in Athens. The University also saw growth in the overall number of students from underrepresented groups in its incoming class at 609.

Students walking and smiling on campus
Two Ohio University students celebrating
Diverse group of Ohio University students in the LINKS program poses on College green
Gaby Castaneda pointing to a computer screen while explaining something

OHIO Regional Promise Award attracts students on OHIO’s five regional campuses

Following the launch of OHIO’s Regional Promise Award in March, 184 students took the University up on the offer to attend one of its regional campus at no cost, joining a total of 810 new incoming students across the Regional Higher Education system.

Student wearing a graduating cap with the state of Ohio outline
Students talking and studying outside at the Lancaster campus

Growth in online undergraduate programs

Student working on their laptop outside

OHIO’s popular, 100 percent online RN-to-BSN program welcomed another 388 new students, and the total number of students enrolled in other OHIO Online undergraduate programs grew 33 percent over last year. This increase was bolstered by continued growth in four-year degree programs such as psychology and interior architecture, as well as 49 new students in the inaugural OHIO Online cohort of the Bachelor of Science in Business.

Academic colleges see increases in incoming student enrollment

Nearly every academic college saw an increase in incoming student enrollment, with the Patton College of Education enrolling 353 first-year Athens Campus students, a 45 percent increase over last year. The College of Health Sciences and Professions enrolled 639 new students, a new record, while the College of Business had 772 new students declare for undergraduate business majors, a whopping 32 percent increase over 2021’s record class. The College of Arts and Sciences (1,140) and College of Fine Arts (262) also set new records.

Students at Southern Campus working through a medical demonstration
Two students using virtual reality goggles in the grid lab

Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine continues to lead in diversity

Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed another incredibly diverse incoming class, with 27 percent of the class identifying as underrepresented minority students and more than 18 percent of the class indicating that they were the first in their family to attend college. The class was also academically strong, tying last year’s record incoming average GPA of 3.68.

Ohio University HCOM white coat ceremony
HCOM Wishing well building dedication
Students observing in the Heritage Hall anatomy lab

More graduate students on the Athens campus

The number of graduate students on the Athens campus also rose to 2,194, a year-over-year increase of over 9 percent. OHIO’s students have plenty of opportunities to conduct groundbreaking research, as demonstrated by the University’s recent jump to the Carnegie R1 research level, the highest recognized level in the nation.

Student using VR goggles to aid in physical therapy / movement
Graduate students in lab coats having a discussion with a professor
Student setting up a recording device on a branch near a river for research

Overall total enrollment at Ohio University saw a small dip from 28,770 to 27,634 as anticipated after graduating another large class this spring. Over the past several years, OHIO has seen increases in its four-year graduation rate, underscoring OHIO’s commitment to student success.

Candace Boeninger, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said the OHIO Guarantee+, which further ensures students’ on-time, on-plan graduation at a comprehensive fixed rate for four years, is one reason she believes students are choosing Ohio University. The Guarantee+ Graduation Plan was introduced in January of 2020 and has been enthusiastically received by new students, with more than 85 percent of eligible students opting into graduation plans for fall 2022.

“Families know that OHIO delivers an excellent, high-value education at an affordable price, and we’ve worked hard to keep that price down,” Boeninger said. “Ultimately, our students have chosen Ohio University for our outstanding academic programs and the unmatched OHIO experience, which is supported by a community of talented faculty, staff, and OHIO alumni who are committed to helping our students succeed.”

All data is considered preliminary and as of the 15-day census date of Sept. 6, 2022.