Enrollment increases; new science building approved

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University experienced a significant enrollment jump across all campuses this semester as compared with the same semester last year, Interim WSU President Daniel J. Bernardo told the WSU Board of Regents Friday.

Reporting at the regents regularly scheduled meeting at WSU-Vancouver, Bernardo said preliminary enrollment numbers show the university has experienced an enrollment increase of well over 600 new students compared to the same semester in 2015. He also reported freshman applications for the 2016 fall semester are running well ahead of the previous year.

“To date, WSU has received over 17,000 freshman applications – over 16,000 at Pullman – for an increase of almost 3,000 students, or nearly 20 percent, over our freshman applications last year,” he said. “Resident applications are up about 11 percent, while non-resident applications up 39 percent.

“Not only are our freshman application numbers large and academically strong enough to meet or exceed our goals, but we may have a wait list for the first time in years,” Bernardo said, adding that WSU expected to maintain the entering freshman class at around 4,000 students this fall.

“More students are choosing college and they’re looking at WSU,” said Ryan Durkan, board chair.

In other news, the board authorized WSU to proceed with a major step towards construction of a Plant Sciences Building to be added to an existing research and education complex on the WSU Pullman campus by passing a proposal allowing WSU to enter into contracts for the design and pre-construction phase of the Plant Sciences Building project within the budgeted amount of $6.6 million.

The new building will become an integral part of a series of interconnected facilities on the Pullman campus which encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among the institution’s leading scientists, representing the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Arts and Sciences. It will allow more programs from these departments to be relocated from antiquated structures around campus. The complex houses research laboratories engaged in the advancement of science and technology in the areas of plant biochemistry, plant pathology, horticulture and crops and soils sciences.

WSU received $500,000 for pre-design in 2013-15 state capital budget and $6.6 million for the design and pre-construction in the 2015-17 state capital budget. WSU expects to request construction funding for the project in WSU’s 2017-19 state capital request.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved an average increase in student housing and dining rates for the next school year of approximately three percent for student residence halls and apartments.
  • Approved the establishment of a Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension by The WSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences to be located at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, where many of the center’s core staff are already located. Project-based applied research and outreach activities would be funded through grants, contracts, and fee-for-service models.
  • Approved a recommendation passed by the Faculty Senate amending a process for the appointment of chairs and directors.
  • Approved two graduate degree title name changes recommended by the Graduate Studies Committee for advanced degrees from the College of Nursing and the College of Engineering and Architecture.
  • Approved the calendar of regularly scheduled WSU Board of Regents meetings for the second half of 2016.


Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583, rstrenge@wsu.edu