CWU News

CWU Freshmen Enrollment Continues Dramatic Upward Trend

Freshman fall enrollment at Central Washington University increased by 21 percent this year, a record year-over-year increase. The university enrolled 1,653 first-year students, 290 more freshmen than for the same time in 2014. The university’s total fall quarter enrollment of 10,912 students is the second highest number in school history.

“This is a tremendous increase and one we worked very hard to get,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino, noting that about 93 percent of freshmen are Washington residents. “Students know that CWU offers one of the best and most affordable undergraduate experiences in the West.”

CWU is a teaching institution; teaching is a top priority for faculty. Class sizes are small and are taught by faculty instead of teaching assistants. Last year two CWU faculty—Nick Zentner and Lisa Ely—earned national recognition for teaching in the geological sciences. In 2014 math professor Dominic Klyve was named the nation’s top collegiate math teacher. In 2013 CWU picked up similar recognition for teaching in physics.

Gaudino said the big jump in enrollment was aided by sharing with students earlier what kind of financial support they could qualify for. CWU awards more than $40 million annually in aid that students don’t have to pay back: grants, scholarships, tuition waivers. The early communication helps families plan and understand how affordable CWU is. After grant awards, the average student pays less than $3,000 per year out of pocket—a low price tag that will drop even further next year.

“Tuition drops another 15 percent next year,” said Gaudino. “We’re starting to return to more balanced state support for higher education and the direct beneficiaries will be Washington families.”

The academic profile of students remains strong, despite the large increase in enrollment. The average entering grade point average is 3.2; average SAT score is about 1005. The average student is 18.5 years old and 51 percent are women.

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

October 27, 2015