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More diverse student body
WSU reports record universitywide enrollment
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010
By Robert Strenge, WSU News Service
PULLMAN – WSU experienced a record fall semester enrollment, with 25,996 students enrolling across the university’s four campuses. The figure surpasses last fall’s system-wide enrollment of 25,782 by less than 1 percent.
Enrollment at the Pullman campus surpassed the 20,000 mark for the first time, with 20,060 students, up from 19,944 in 2009. Pullman figures include distance students served by the Pullman campus.
Both enrollment records were established despite an intentional reduction in the number of entering freshmen at the university’s Pullman campus. The entering freshmen class in Pullman was 2,980 students, compared to 3,373 the previous fall.
The decision to limit the number of entering freshmen in Pullman was intended to help offset the increasing sizes of freshmen classes over the past four years. Faced with reductions in state funding and comparable reductions in university resources, the move was an effort to ensure that students will be afforded the classes and services they need to complete their programs on time.
“We continue to be pleased by the strong demand we are seeing for a Washington State University degree,” said President Elson S. Floyd. “The incoming class is both diverse and highly qualified. While our budget situation creates its own challenges, I think our students recognize that we are maintaining our focus on providing top-quality undergraduate and graduate education.”
Contributing to Pullman’s overall enrollment growth was a 5.5 percent increase in the number of graduate students, up this year to 2,343 from 2,220 in fall 2009. Howard Grimes, dean of the Graduate School and vice president for research, said graduate student enrollments at WSU have increased between 3 and 4 percent annually over the past few years, primarily because of increasing enrollments in agriculture and engineering programs.
“I think the growth in our graduate program enrollment reflects the implementation of our strategic vision and the increasing recognition of our university as a major research institution,” said Grimes. “It speaks well to the reputation of our faculty and their research.”
The Pullman campus also saw its largest enrollment of freshman international students, up from 73 in 2009 to 106, for an increase of 45 percent. The percentage of domestic minority students in the freshman class in Pullman also grew from 21 to 23 percent.
The number of incoming transfer students systemwide increased slightly, up nearly 6 percent to 1,233 from 1,167 one year ago. The number of transferring international and minority students increased, with the number of international student transfers growing to 146 from 131 last year, and the percentage of minority student transfers increasing from 21 to 24 percent of the total.
Students of color make up 18.3 percent of WSU’s student body, including all undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as compared to 16.2 percent last fall. International enrollments constitute 6.3 percent of total enrollments, as compared to 5.5 percent the previous year.
Student quality on the Pullman campus increased this year, with the high school GPA climbing from 3.42 last fall to 3.44 and the average SAT critical reading and math score moving from 1,091 to 1,098.
This fall WSU Vancouver - in its fifth year of accepting freshman admissions - recorded its second largest freshman class of 203 students, an increase of 18 students over the previous year. The Vancouver campus also admitted more transfer students than at any time in the past 10 years, accepting 587 students from other colleges and universities.
WSU Tri-Cities - in its fourth year of admitting freshmen - continues to set enrollment records. Headcount is 1,553 students, up 3.2 percent over last year, and full-time equivalent reached 1,142 students, up 5.2 percent from a year ago. Roughly 33 percent of the 100 first-time entering freshmen are Hispanic. The average high school GPA of the new class at the Tri-Cities campus is 3.31.
At the Pullman and Spokane campuses, which are considered a single campus for state enrollment reporting purposes, total headcount enrollment increased by 53 students or 0.2 percent. When viewed separately, however, WSU Spokane shows a decline in headcount enrollment this fall to 1,286 students, compared to 1,349 last fall. WSU Spokane does not accept entering freshmen.