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WSU sees largest new first-year student class since 2019

by Contributed Report
| September 14, 2023 4:42 PM

PULLMAN — This fall, Washington State University welcomed its largest cohort of new first-year students since the fall of 2019.

WSU saw a 6.5% increase in new first-year students systemwide — from 3,991 in the fall of 2022 to 4,249 this fall. WSU Tri-Cities saw the largest percentage growth in new first-year students, with an increase of 25.7% compared to last fall. The number of new students seeking professional doctorates in pharmacy, human and veterinary medicine also improved this fall.

“The growth we’re seeing in new students this fall is an indication of the excellent work of our enrollment management staff and demonstrates our ability to reverse the enrollment declines caused by the pandemic,” said WSU Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton.

However, the smaller incoming class sizes during the pandemic were dwarfed by the record-large classes in the years immediately preceding it, leaving overall systemwide enrollment down 3.8% compared to last fall.

Exceptions include WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Everett, which saw overall campus enrollment increase compared to last fall. Overall enrollment within the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program also rose 1.3% this fall.

Members of the WSU Board of Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee heard from Chilton and Saichi Oba, vice provost for enrollment management, about this year’s data as well as ongoing efforts to bolster retention and graduation rates as part of the university’s mission of accessibility and inclusivity.

Student Regent Isaac Marroquin thanked Chilton and Oba for their focus on retention and graduation, noting how important it is, particularly for first-generation students like himself, to be supported not only when arriving at WSU, but throughout their journey toward graduation.

WSU Pullman

The number of new first-year students enrolled at WSU Pullman increased by more than 190 students compared to last fall, resulting in a 5.8% gain.

Overall enrollment at the WSU Pullman campus decreased 4.4% compared to last fall, with the number of students totaling 17,050. The number of students pursuing masters and research doctorate degrees in Pullman also decreased 3.1%, from 1,789 students last fall to 1,734 students this year.

WSU Global Campus

WSU Global Campus’ new first-year, transfer and graduate students all grew compared to last fall, 14.1%, 4.7% and 38.6%, respectively.

Overall enrollment dipped slightly this fall after several strong years of growth, totaling approximately 3,750 students. Overall enrollment among undergraduate students did rise, however, from 2,589 to 2,698.

WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver saw its number of new first-year students increase by 1% compared to last fall, while its new transfer students essentially remained flat.

More than 2,750 students are enrolled at WSU Vancouver this fall, a 2.7% decrease compared to last fall.

WSU Spokane

The number of professional students new to WSU Spokane who are seeking to become doctors of medicine or doctors of pharmacy via the College of Medicine and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences increased this fall by 2.6% and 27.7%, respectively.

Driven by large graduating classes in recent years, WSU Spokane’s total enrollment this fall dipped 10% compared to 2022. The campuses saw a slight gain in new transfer students, but a much more pronounced climb in new masters and doctoral students, approximately 21%.

WSU Tri-Cities

Bolstered by the strongest new student class among all campuses, WSU Tri-Cities saw its overall enrollment increased by 0.8% compared to last fall. It’s the first time since the fall of 2017 that overall enrollment has grown at the campus.

A 25.7% increase in new first-year students was complemented by a 6.6% increase for new transfer students and a 7.1% increase in new masters and doctoral students.

WSU Everett

After a few down years during the pandemic, WSU Everett saw its enrollment grow by 14% compared to fall 2022. The campus’ growth in total enrollment was the largest by percentage of any campus, bringing the total number of students to more than 210.

This increase was driven by growth among new transfer students, which grew by 31.8% compared to last fall.