First-Year Enrollment Increases 5 Percent

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First-year, full-time enrollment in regular OD programs at optometry schools and colleges grew by 5.2% in 2016-2017 to reach 1913, up from 1818 the year before, according to the 2016-17 Annual Student Data Report published in May 2017 and updated in June by ASCO.  Contributing to this growth was an increase in the number of institutions enrolling students; there were 22 institutions in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico enrolling students this year and 21 institutions in 2015-2016. The number of full-time first-year students enrolled in regular OD programs has increased 14.3% from five years ago when there were 20 programs.

Total enrollment in regular OD programs is 7024, a 1.8% increase over last year and an 11.7% increase over five years. The total number of graduates at the schools and colleges of optometry, both regular and special programs, increased 7.0% from 2015 (1557) to 2016 (1666). There has been a 25.1% increase in graduates from regular and special programs from 2011 to 2016.

In 2016-2017, the average cost for all direct expenses (tuition, fees, books and instruments) for a first-year resident student was $30,614 for a public school (an increase of 1% over last year) and $40,417 for a private school (an increase of 1.7%).  First-year non-residents paid an average $48,426 for all direct expenses at a public school (a decrease of 1.0%), and $41,910 for all direct expenses at a private school (an increase of 1.8%). The full Annual Student Data Report, which includes several more categories of information, can be found on the ASCO web site at https://www.optometriceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ASCO-Student-Data-Report-2016-17-updated-June-2017-2.pdf. Data reflecting trends in optometric education can be found at https://optometriceducation.org/trend-data-in-optometric-education/.