CWU News

CWU announces fall quarter 2019 enrollment figures

CWU enrolled 3 percent more new undergraduate students than last year, a record high for the university, according to Josh Hibbard, CWU’s interim vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management.


New student enrollment increased from 3,260 to 3,348. Overall enrollment was up slightly statewide, 12,257 compared to 12,127 from the same time a year ago. Washington residents comprise about 91 percent of the university’s student body.



CWU’s “overall” enrollment includes undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students taking classes at CWU's residential campus in Ellensburg, six University Centers, and teaching sites at Joint Base Lewis McChord and in Sammamish. It also includes state-funded Running Start students who take their classes in Ellensburg and at CWU-Sammamish, along with students taking classes online.


“Our first-year, new student enrollment of 2,128 actually set a university record,” Hibbard said. The number surpassed the previous high-water mark set in 2017.


“Our enrollment success in this increasingly competitive environment is a credit to the university’s new recruitment strategy,” noted CWU President James L. Gaudino. "Our mission is to make each student successful in whatever field they choose and whatever campus they attend. It's just that simple."


Owing to CWU’s welcoming reputation, students from traditionally underrepresented student populations comprised 34 percent of new students this year, up a full 2 percent from last year; first-generation students making up just under 44 percent of the total.


“Underrepresented students are coming to Central because CWU is seen as an inclusive environment that is student centered and supportive,” said Kandee Cleary, CWU’s vice president of Inclusivity and Diversity. “On move-in day, a number of parents essentially said just that. And, I agree—we are a university that supports a sense of belonging for all students.”


For the first time in school history, students of color—at 52 percent— represented the majority of applicants for first-year admission to CWU, with the number of transfer and first-year applicants combined making up half of all admission applicants.


As a result, CWU recently earned the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for the fifth time in the last six years. CWU is the only institution in the state with this record of achievement.


CWU’s enrollment total does not factor in secondary students who take college-level courses in their high schools throughout College in the High School or CWU's "Cornerstone" programs. However, it should be noted that the university is the state's top provider of baccalaureate content in high schools with more than 3,000 students enrolled in these programs statewide.


“I’m optimistic we will continue to be a top choice for students,” Gaudino said. “You just can’t beat our convenient locations across the state and online, the academic quality of our programs, and our overall value.”


CWU offers a residential campus in Ellensburg as well as eight University Centers and sites in Des Moines, Joint-Base Lewis McChord, Lynnwood, Moses Lake, Pierce County, Sammamish, Wenatchee, and Yakima.




Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,