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Central Washington University

Students Transfer to CWU, Enroll Online in Record Numbers

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (January 14, 2013) — Students are transferring to and enrolling online at Central Washington University in record numbers. For winter quarter, 386 students transferred to CWU, almost as many as the record-setting 400 who transferred to CWU during winter quarter last year. The number of students majoring in programs offered completely online leaped a staggering 268 percent from last year to this, from 161 to 593.

John Swiney, CWU associate vice president for Enrollment Management, says the intense interest in CWU is generated by the school's affordable tuition, convenient and competitive programs, and reputation for personalized education. 

“CWU has the programs that students are looking for and that lead to good careers,” he said. “CWU makes transferring easy with our dual admission program and university centers at eight community colleges.”

About half of all CWU students transferred from another college or university; 65 percent of CWU graduates are transfer students. Swiney said many students choose to complete freshman and sophomore years at a community college and then to transfer to CWU in order to reduce the overall cost of education. Tuition at CWU is about $8,000 this year, well below the price of large institutions.

“That dramatic growth is also due to our letting students know that, if they’re academically qualified, they may receive a grant, tuition-waiver or other scholarship,” Swiney said, adding that this year more than $40 million is available for grants and scholarships.

Associate Provost Tracy Pellett said phenomenal jumps in online enrollment are evidence of students’ comfort with communicating and learning online, as well as their desire for a flexible and affordable degree alternative. Pellett said CWU works hard to ensure that students’ online programs offer the same high quality, personalized experience as face-to-face education.

“We've made sure that the student online experience is complete; students can get advising, tutoring, financial aid information, and even orientation online,” said Pellett. “We don't wait for a student or faculty to tell us they're struggling with an on-line program. We make student success the top priority and step in to offer help as soon as it's needed.”

The number of students taking any class online rose from 2,129 last winter to 2,351 this year, more than any other comprehensive university in Washington. Pellett said year-to-year online enrollment in psychology jumped from 13 to 120.

Overall enrollment growth at CWU is steady, with 10,270 students enrolled university-wide. Nearly 70 percent of CWU’s student body comes from communities in western Washington. About 92 percent of CWU students are residents of Washington state.

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

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