CWU News

Available Financial Aid, More Class Options Boost CWU Summer Enrollment

CWU students on campusA higher number of students have been taking summer sessions classes this year at CWU. The reason is, in part, the renewed availability of Pell Grant funding.

Preliminary estimates indicate that CWU summer session enrollment was up 7 percent from this same time last summer, noted Gail Mackin, CWU associate provost for undergraduate and faculty affairs. 

“Summer session offers students with opportunities to catch up on necessary courses, add an additional major or minor, and ensure they progress towards graduation within their projected timelines,” Mackin added. “Colleges and departments focused on increasing online sections this summer recognizing the need for flexibility with respect to students’ work schedules and location.”

This summer, CWU experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of students taking online classes compared to last summer. 

“We focused offering more sections of high-demand general education courses [such as first-year English],” Mackin pointed out. “A combination of getting our message out to students and faculty, along with careful advising, allowed for a higher number of students to be enrolled in these typically congested courses. Those students are now able to advance to their higher level courses.”

Congress restored year-around Pell Grants last year, following curtailment of the program in 2011. The availability of grants for the summer term also contributed to the increased enrollment.

“Previously, only Pell-eligible students who were graduating during summer could receive Pell funds to complete their education,” explained Sharon O'Hare, CWU vice president for strategic enrollment management. “Now that federal aid may be used during the summer, the number of students receiving it grew to 830—more than three and a half times the total last summer.”

The funding also provided added support for students who have responsibilities, such as jobs or family circumstances, which prevent them from taking a maximum class load during the traditional school year.

“While the lifetime amount of aid a student may receive has not increased, certainly this year-round access to Pell aid can shorten a student's time to completing his or her degree,” O’Hare acknowledged.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,