Grad students propel 17 percent hike in online enrollment

By Richard H. Miller, Global Campus

global-campusPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Global Campus posted a 17 percent enrollment increase in fall 2014 as the university overall reached an all-time enrollment high of 28,686, according to statistics from WSU’s Office of Institutional Research.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the Global Campus,” said Dan Bernardo, WSU provost and executive vice president. “There is more potential for growth in that area.”

The increase was led by students seeking online graduate degrees. Graduate enrollment in the Global Campus rose 49.4 percent, from 482 students in 2013 to 720 students this fall. The percentage of graduate students self-identifying as ethnic minorities increased from 20.5 percent to 22.5 percent, the highest figure for any WSU campus.

Undergraduate enrollment in WSU’s online degree program also posted a healthy increase of 8.9 percent in the last year, from 1,894 to 2,062.

Overall, WSU experienced a 4 percent increase over last year’s enrollment, including a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment and a 5 percent increase in graduate students.

One reason for the Global Campus increase, said WSU Vice President Dave Cillay, is the 2013 decision to charge a single tuition rate for nonresident and resident online students

“In 2013, just 0.7 percent of our undergraduates were international students,” he said. “That jumped to 3.6 percent this year. We anticipate that as more people learn of our traditional yet innovative approach to online education, our enrollment will continue to grow.

“But whether we have 10 or 10,000 students, what’s important is the service we provide to each person who decides to entrust us with their academic goals,” he said.

WSU’s Global Campus offers nearly 20 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a wide variety of certificates to about 3,000 students each semester. Other pillars of the campus are:

• Global Connections, which creates a virtual campus for students with career fairs, a research pavilion, arts and education events and a common reading program.

• The Digital Academy, which offers noncredit online courses, such as certificates for working professionals and a variety of free interactive seminars.

• eLearning Services, which offers training for instructors in technology used for both online and on-campus courses.

• Conference Management, which organizes educational conferences where experts can share information both in person and online.