PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University welcomed a large and well-qualified freshman class this fall, according to official enrollment figures released by the university today (Sept. 16).

The incoming freshman class on the Pullman campus totals 3,032 students, up from 2,790 last year. Of those incoming students, 1,176 (38.8 percent) carry cumulative high school grade point averages of 3.6 or above. That represents a 15.1 percent increase in the number of high-achieving students over the fall of 2002 incoming class, which had 36.6 percent such students. In the 2001 entering freshman class, 29.9 percent had grade point averages of 3.6 or above.

“This is the best-qualified freshman class in the university’s history. We’re very pleased with the progress that is being made in both the quality and quantity of applications we receive. More and more outstanding students are looking at WSU as a college of choice,” said Janet Danley, director of enrollment services.

The incoming class includes 1,631 women and 1,401 men; 2,687 of the class are in-state students. The number of ethnic minority students – Asian American, African American, Native American and Hispanic – in the entering class is 415, up from 411 last year. But since the overall freshman class size is larger this year, the percentage of ethnic minorities in the class as a whole dropped from 14.7 percent to 13.7 percent.

The Regents Scholar Program, in which Washington high school principals each nominate two of their top seniors for WSU scholarships, helped bring 186 students to WSU. Most of those students receive $3,000 scholarships renewable for one year. Twenty-three students who received four-year Distinguished Regents Scholarships, worth more than $45,000 over the course of their undergraduate careers, are also in the class.

WSU’s overall enrollment, when measured by student head count on each of its four campuses, increased by 3.6 percent to 22,517, from 21,729 last fall. All four of WSU’s campuses recorded increases in enrollment this fall.

Among graduate students on the Pullman campus, the fall figures show an enrollment of 2,048. That represents a 2.5 percent increase in graduate students over last year, and the highest overall graduate student enrollment in Pullman in eight years. Howard Grimes, dean of the WSU Graduate School, said that WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver also each recorded increases of more than 10 percent in graduate students. 

“These overall figures reflect the continuing success of research and graduate education at WSU, a research extensive university. WSU ranked among the top 50 public research universities this year, an accomplishment that in part reflects the excellence of its graduate programs,” Grimes said.

Overall student enrollment on the Pullman campus showed the smallest gain of the four campuses in percentage terms, a 3.1 percent increase from 18,056 to 18,622. That total includes 9,628 women and 8,994 men. Students of color represent 13.29 percent of total enrollment, compared to 13.1 percent last fall. The Pullman student body includes 1,433 new transfer students, compared to 1,439 in fall 2000. The entering grade point average of this year’s group of transfers is 3.05, compared to 3.03 last year. 

At WSU Vancouver, 1,861 students are taking classes this fall, a 6.2 percent increase from fall 2002. The student body includes 1,201 women and 660 men. Students of color represent 5.32 percent of the total campus enrollment, compared to 5.92 percent last fall.

At WSU Tri-Cities, the total enrollment went up from 1,117 to 1,192, a 6.7 percent increase. The student body includes 665 women and 527 men. Students of color represent 8.72 percent of total enrollment, compared with 10.14 percent last fall.

At WSU Spokane, 842 students enrolled for classes this fall, a 4.73 percent increase over last fall’s 804. The student body includes 439 women and 403 men. Ethnic minority students make up 11.64 percent of total enrollment, compared with 10.64 percent last fall.