CWU News

CWU Encouraged by Fall Quarter Enrollment Numbers

CWU Orientation Leaders on campus

CWU Orientation Leaders getting ready to welcome Wildcats to campus

Central Washington University received some welcome news this week when the 2021 fall quarter enrollment numbers were announced.

According to the annual 10-day census, CWU is currently serving more than 10,200 students on its Ellensburg campus and eight sites and centers statewide.

Additional data from the census revealed that 45% of CWU’s new first year students are first-generation college students, while 51% of transfer students are first generation. Meanwhile, 43% of new first-year students and 45% of transfers come from traditionally underrepresented communities. The census also revealed that 53% of new first-year students are women, and 92% are Washington residents.  

The 10-day numbers confirm that Central is moving closer to becoming a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), a U.S. Department of the Education designation that rewards colleges and universities for their efforts to serve traditionally underrepresented populations.

“We are pleased with our enrollment numbers, but most importantly, we are making a difference in the communities we are intending to reach,” CWU President Jim Wohlpart said. “Central takes a lot of pride in providing opportunities for those who have traditionally lacked access to higher education, and this report confirms we are meeting those goals.”

Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs Joel Klucking said the census shows the university’s resilience in spite of the challenges of the past year and a half.

“Enrollment was not as high as we would have liked, but a surge at the end increased our numbers,” Klucking said. “We feel very fortunate that our students have chosen to remain with us through so much adversity. We truly appreciate their passion for higher education and their loyalty to Central.”

Furthermore, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Kandee Cleary noted that CWU’s mission of serving underrepresented populations has been validated by the continued growth in first-generation enrollments this fall. 

“Year after year, Central shows that we are a place where people of all social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds belong,” Cleary said, adding that CWU earned its seventh Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in the past eight years. “We aren’t just trying to be the most diverse, inclusive higher education institution in the state; we are proving it every year.”

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,