Freshmen Drive Up WSU Enrollment

PULLMAN, Wash. — With the largest freshman class in nearly two decades, Washington State University’s fall enrollment is up more than 2 percent to 17,912 students on the Pullman campus, and its system-wide registrations are 20,998, both record numbers.
There are 2,877 new freshman, the largest incoming class since 1980 when 2,970 enrolled. This year’s incoming class is 641 more than a year ago, a 28 percent increase.
“With a record enrollment of 21,000 students across the WSU statewide system, we are fulfilling our goal of expanding access to a quality university education,” WSU President Samuel Smith said.
“We’ve set an approximate 2 percent growth rate for the Pullman campus, and we came in right on target at our legislative contract level,” Smith said.
“As expected, we are seeing a higher growth rate at our Vancouver campus, which is in the state’s fastest growing metropolitan area,” he said.
Provost Gretchen M. Bataille released the figures today following the official 10-day tally being reported to state offices in Olympia.
Bataille said the increased student interest in WSU validates the university’s rising academic reputation and a “growing recognition of the quality of the university’s programs.” Recently WSU was ranked 39th by the Kiplinger magazine among its 100 best values in state universities.
Bataille also pointed to the growth in enrollment in the WSU Honors College, which provides students with enriched educational opportunities. There are 428 new freshmen enrolled in Honors, compared with 330 a year ago. Total Honors enrollment has increased nearly 20 percent from 1,032 in 1997 to 1,200 this year.
Total enrollment throughout WSU’s multicampus system grew by 461 students from 20,537 in the fall 1997 term. The largest increase was at WSU Vancouver where enrollment has risen nearly 14 percent from a year ago to 1,514, up 183 students. While WSU Spokane headcount enrollment dipped 16 students from last year’s enrollment of 417, the full-time equivalent, a combination of full-time and part-time students, rose 92 to 377. WSU Tri-Cities has 1,171 students, 97 fewer than a year ago.
Ethnic enrollments are higher. On the Pullman campus the number of students of color increased 7 percent to 2,351 or 13.1 percent of the total enrollment, the highest ever. The percentage of ethnic students among the total student body were higher than last year at the branch campuses — WSU Spokane, 8.7 percent; WSU Tri-Cities, 12.3 percent; and WSU Vancouver, 8.3 percent.
Enrollment in the Extended Degree Program, which serves students through distance education technologies, has shown a 16 percent increase in full-time equivalent enrollment, from 304 FTE in 1997 to 352 this year. EDP enrollment is counted in the total registrations on the Pullman campus.