PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University has established a record enrollment this fall with 20,537 students registered for classes at its four campuses.
System-wide the increase is 1.8 percent above last year’s total of 20,169 students enrolled at the end of 10th day of classes. The 10th day enrollment figures are used by the state for annual comparisons.
As anticipated, the enrollment patterns show the greatest increases in areas of rapid population growth and in programs delivered via educational technologies, WSU officials say. At the same time, the quality of the incoming freshman class at Pullman continues to increase.
The enrollment advances are led by a 22 percent increase in registrations at WSU Vancouver, in its second year at the new campus in the Salmon Creek area. This branch campus has 1,331 students, up from 1,089 last fall.
Also seen is a 50 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in the Extended Degree Program, designed for placebound students statewide to earn a bachelor’s degree in social sciences using distance learning technologies. EDP enrollments climbed to 727 students this year, compared to 469 a year ago.
The Pullman campus enrollment is up .8 percent from fall 1996 with 17,521 students, up from 17,379. The number of new freshmen is steady at 2,309 compared to 2,301 last fall, and the percentage of students of color continues to increase.
Nearly all the new freshmen are from inside the state. There are only 184 out-of-state students in this year’s freshman class, down 35 from last year and only half the number who registered five years ago.
During that five-year period, out-of-state tuition for undergraduates increased 40 percent, WSU officials said.
The Pullman enrollment figures historically include students studying at the Seattle Center for Hotel and Restaurant Administration, the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education in Spokane and through the Extended Degree Program.
WSU Spokane has shown a 3 percent enrollment increase this fall, from 405 to 417 students.
WSU Tri-Cities enrollment dropped 2 percent from 1,296 students a year ago to 1,268 this year. However, full-time equivalent student numbers increased, as more students attend full-time.
WSU Provost Gretchen Bataille said she is pleased by the overall system growth and the “significant advance of the Vancouver enrollment and the interest in the Extended Degree Program.” She said the progress is consistent with the university’s efforts to deliver educational programs to communities and individuals throughout the state.
“I’m impressed by the quality and diversity of students attracted to WSU. The entering freshman class grade average is the highest ever with a 3.43 GPA,” she said. The Honors Program enrollment for high-achieving students has increased, with 337 new freshmen, compared with 260 last year. The total enrollment in Honors now exceeds 1,000 students. The high school grade average for new Honors Program students is 3.8.
Bataille said WSU is seeing varying patterns of growth across the system, with growth in some areas coming more slowly than expected.
The Office of Financial Management’s targeted total enrollment for the WSU system is 19,360 full-time equivalent students for 1997-98. The actual fall semester number for the WSU system is 19,158 full-time equivalent students.