CWU News

Freshmen enrollment record growth continues at CWU

Central Washington University is reporting a 12 percent increase in its freshmen class—the third straight year the school has seen double-digit enrollment increases in its freshman students.

Central has 2,131 freshmen taking classes full- or part-time in Ellensburg, at a University Center, or online. That number tops last year’s mark of 1,908 and follows 15 and 21 percent increases of the previous two entering classes.

“Our continuing freshman growth simply shows that more students now agree with what we know and have said for years: that CWU offers one of the best and most affordable undergraduate experiences in the West,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino.
For 2017, about 91 percent of first-year students are from Washington. Overall, a total of 12,208 students—also a record—are taking CWU classes during the 2017-18 academic year, which is 178 students above the previous mark set in 2015.

Students of color total 35 percent of the first-year class. Hispanic students were the largest single ethnic group at approximately 16 percent. Growth among students of color has increased by 66 percent since 2013, with Hispanic, African American, and multiracial ethnic groups having recorded the most increases throughout the past four years.

“CWU is now the most diverse comprehensive public university in the state and we’re working hard to make it the most welcoming institution as well,” Gaudino said. “We strive to have a campus environment that celebrates our differences and reinforces the values of mutual respect and acceptance.”

Recently, CWU was the only university in Washington state to receive the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award recognizes the demonstration of outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. CWU has earned this recognition three times in the last four years.

Base tuition is just above $6,000 annually for resident undergraduates. CWU has been ranked first in the state for value to graduates by The Economist magazine. Additionally, the “Educate to Career College Ranking Index” (ETC) named CWU top in the state for improving employability and earnings of graduates.

Along with its Ellensburg campus, CWU opened its CWU-Sammamish instructional site in September, augmenting six University Centers across Washington. Central is one of just seven higher education institutions from across the nation allowed to provide instruction directly at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
CWU is also among the state’s top providers of online degree programs, with 1,524 enrolled students this year.
Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,