CWU News

CWU Experiences Strong International Student Growth in Western Washington

Central Washington University’s centers and instructional sites in the Puget Sound region are recording notable enrollment growth this fall, especially in the number of international students. The increase is being seen at CWU-Des Moines at Highline College, CWU-Lynnwood at Edmonds College, CWU-Pierce County at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood, and CWU-Sammamish.

“There are several factors that have led to this growth, including Central’s continued focus on recruiting transfer students, retention efforts at the centers, and strengthening relationships with our host institutions,” said Kimberly Valenti, CWU international student recruiter.

This fall, those four centers and sites welcomed 32 new international students. The total international enrollment of 121 is now double that of just four years ago, and CWU is averaging an enrollment increase of about 16 international students each year.

“International transfer students are looking for affordable, quality education,” added Caitlin Lawson, CWU immigration advisor. “Engagement efforts of our center staff have helped to maintain international student enrollment numbers. They ease their transition into college, get to know them well, and work closely with the students from start to finish.” 

Shahreer Sami, a current student from Bangladesh, added, “I enjoy the diversity at CWU-Des Moines. There are students, faculty, and staff from different cultures, and I have made new friends from different countries. It’s always better to have friends from diverse cultures.”

Word of mouth and CWU’s strong reputation have also led to more interest from international students. Truc Nguyen, from Vietnam, transferred to CWU-Lynnwood because she had “many friends who had transferred to CWU and recommended it.”

Transfer student growth contributed to the development of the new CWU Transfer Center, which provides resources and support specific to transfer students, “to help them finish, enhancing not only their own life but the lives of their families and their communities,” noted Transfer Center Director Megan McConnell.

That continued commitment to international recruitment, advising, academic support, and programming adds international appeal to CWU, its University Centers, and instructional sites while contributing to the university’s goals of promoting diversity and cultural awareness.