PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University planned to tell the state’s best and brightest high school seniors that there is challenging education and the chance to work with world-class faculty members awaiting them at its Pullman campus. The teenagers heard the message and this fall, the class – 2,790 strong – began college studies.

“We set out to bring in a class with more who were recognized as high-achievers and we accomplished this,” said Janet Danley, director of enrollment services. Some 36.6 percent of the class had a grade point average of 3.6 or better.

The class is up in all indicators: SAT scores as well as high school GPAs, Danley added.

The new freshman class includes 1,478 women and 1,312 men. Some 2,416 are Washington residents. There are 411 students of color, 14.7 percent of the class, an increase of 21.1 percent above the 2001 freshman class. The international student number is 41 up slightly from 37 reported a year ago.

The new Regents Scholars Program, in which Washington high school principals nominated two of their top seniors for scholarships to WSU, helped bring 124 students to WSU, most of whom received $3,000 scholarships renewable for one year. Eighteen who received four-year, full rides as program finalists also are part of the class.

The Pullman campus has accommodated the near-record class by nearly filling all available university approved housing and converting hotel rooms in the Compton Union Building to campus housing for the fall semester.

The all-university enrollment numbers overall increased about 1.8 percent, as Danley and others predicted. There are 22,166 in the WSU system this fall.

There are 1,439 transfer students this fall, compared to 1,329 a year ago. The group’s average GPA is 3.03, compared to the 2001 average of 2.95.

The Pullman campus has a total of 18,441 students, up slightly (.6 percent) from 2001. “The increase is what we felt we could manage without affecting the quality of education,” Danley said. The percentage of women students is 51.6 percent, up from 51.3 in fall 2001. Students of color represent 13.1 percent of total enrollment, up from 12.8 percent last fall.

At WSU Tri-Cities, the total enrollment increased 2.14 percent to 1,099 this fall. The student body includes to 57.1 percent women and 42.9 percent men. Students of color represent 10 percent of the total enrollment, up slightly from a year ago.

WSU Spokane is up nearly 18 percent in total enrollment with 827 this fall. Students of color represent 12.8 percent of the total enrollment, compared to 11.3 percent last fall. Women also lead at this campus representing 50.7 percent of the student body.

At WSU Vancouver, there is an enrollment increase of more than 7 percent or 121 students to total 1,799. There are 65.3 percent women in the student body. Students of color represent 6.7 percent of the total enrollment, up from 6.2 percent a year ago.

Howard Grimes, interim director of the Graduate School, said graduate students total more than 3,300 in the WSU system. The Pullman campus numbers increased from 1,845 to nearly 2,000 this fall.

The Distance Degree Programs have 2,390, an increase of 20 percent from the 2001 of 1,992 students.