PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The University of Oregon is breaking its record for the greatest number of incoming students, with a whopping 5,338 freshmen attending the first day of classes.

For the past couple of school years, fewer students were enrolling in college classes due to the pandemic. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center even reported that total undergraduate enrollment fell by nearly 1.3 million students since spring 2020.

However, UO’s preliminary data for fall 2022 shows a 16% growth in the current freshman class compared to last year’s class of 4,617 students.

Roger J. Thompson, UO’s vice president for student services and enrollment management, said that despite 2020 bringing on a once-in-100-years type of event, the team adapted well.

“I think what our team did was we learned some things for how to recruit coming out of the pandemic, and we did a lot of things remotely,” Thompson said. “We learned how to communicate with students and parents in new ways, and I think what you see with this class is the tremendous success that we had doing that.”

UO’s class of 2026 didn’t only break records in the number of Ducks, but also records in diversity.

According to the university, 36% of the freshman student population comes from diverse races of ethnicity. In 2011, UO reported just 24%.

Thompson partially credits the university’s sponsorships of events and organizations, including Good in the Hood and Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana, for its connections with multicultural communities in the state.

In addition, UO offers guaranteed tuition

“When a student comes to the University of Oregon, their tuition is locked in for the next five years — no increases, no changes. That’s our guarantee,” Thompson said. “I think for a lot of communities, not just communities from underrepresented or underserved areas, but for all students and families, that’s a really important commitment.”

UO is proud of the academic achievements of the incoming students as well. The freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.76.

Architecture, art, environmental science, education and journalism are among the top 15 majors requested by students.

“I think students are coming a little more focused. They know what they want to do, and that’s good, but we still encourage them to explore. College is a time for exploration, but we’re really proud of this group. They’re just terrific, and I can’t wait to see what kind of difference they make on campus and then of course, when they leave campus,” Thompson said.