BGSU announces record retention, highest enrollment in more than a decade

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students playing game outside

Enrollment success comes at a time when the U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowling Green State University in their tier one of 2021 Best Colleges listing

In what may be the unlikeliest of years, Bowling Green State University has announced its highest enrollment in more than a decade and the highest retention rate of students in the University’s history.

Defying the national trend of declining enrollment, BGSU is up 1.6% in headcount from fall 2019, with 20,232 students enrolled for the fall 2020 academic term.

The University’s retention rate saw an even larger increase, up 2.3% from 2019, with a 79.4% overall retention rate, the highest in a century.

“Our students tell us time and time again, 'BGSU feels like home, a community where they belong,'” said President Rodney K. Rogers. “This reflects the intentionality of our faculty and staff to support each student. Throughout this global pandemic, in the most unprecedented circumstances, they found a way to connect with and educate our students, remaining committed that BGSU graduates are positioned to live meaningful and productive lives. These record enrollment and retention rates demonstrate that Bowling Green State University – a public university for the public good – values our students and our mission to serve the public.”

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Student in staff mask on campus
Instructor in a hybrid classroom

BGSU welcomed nearly 7,400 new students in both the summer and fall terms, with record summer enrollment, up 4% from 2019 and the highest headcount since 2011.

The largest enrollment growth came in the University’s graduate and eCampus programs, which offers 100% online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs. The University waived GRE and GMAT test requirements for its master’s degree programs in March, a move it has extended to fall 2021.

BGSU Firelands also saw growth with an increased first-year class and a sustained enrollment growth, up 4% over the last two years.

This enrollment success comes at a time when the U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowling Green State University in their tier-one of 2021 Best Colleges listing. BGSU retains this recognition from the 2020 rankings, demonstrating its comprehensive education among colleges and universities in the United States. In addition, the University was also ranked for social mobility and as a top pubic institution adding value for students across its academic profile.

After the halt of in-person learning in March and moving to a fully online course delivery due to COVID-19, BGSU reopened its campuses and residence halls in August with a new, flexible course delivery model called Design My BGSU, a program that gives students the opportunity to take courses in-person or online this fall.

“The dedication to excellence exhibited by our faculty and staff in meeting the challenges of preparing and launching the fall 2020 term is second to none. Modification of fall 2020 course offerings and de-densification of on-campus housing were just two of the major accomplishments,” said Joe B. Whitehead Jr., provost and senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. “Our faculty are top-rated for a reason; they are committed to student success.”

The Class of 2024 boasts the highest average GPA in BGSU’s history of new freshman enrollment, at 3.59. The Office of Admissions and SOAR hosted nearly 12,000 virtual visitors this summer to support the enrollment of new students.

“Despite early projections and a national enrollment decline in higher education, BGSU overcame the challenges and defied the odds,” said Rogers. “In everything we do – from our quality academic programs to our research and outreach agendas to the community we build on our campuses – we are driven to create public good and support students to design the life they wish to lead. We are incredibly grateful to our students who feel connected to BGSU’s mission to create public good and who are empowered to stand out at BGSU, and to our faculty and staff who continue to show unparalleled levels of perseverance, empathy and innovation.”

Media Contact

Colleen Rerucha
rerucha@bgsu.edu