Enrollment Down For EWU

EWU is partnering with GAP to improve student admission rates.

EWU is partnering with GAP to improve student admission rates.

By Randle Kinswa, Managing Editor

Student enrollment has seen a pretty steep decline since COVID-19 arrived on the west coast in March of 2020.

Total student enrollment has dipped from 12,350 total students enrolled at EWU in Fall of 2020, to 10,892 students in Fall of 2021. That is a 11.8% decline in total student enrollment.

As COVID-19 has impacted every school in the nation, its impact varies regionally and is “hyper-local”, according to both Jens Larson and Brian Levin-Stankevich, who both work in student enrollment at EWU.

With national tendencies in mind, EWU’s projected forecast for student enrollment was humble to begin with, but the forecasted numbers were not even reached. 

The projected forecast for total enrollment was 7.5% lower than projected.

EWU’s worst categorical declines featured a key element to EWU’s attractiveness to potential students, and that is the number of first-generation students. The forecasted numbers were 3.8% lower.

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Reasons for EWU’s lack of student enrollment, according to the presenters, included a lack of branding outside of Spokane, high school students not filling out the FAFSA, and how many students choose to be exclusively online. 

Another reason, according to both Larson and Levin-Stankevich, is the rhetoric that has conjured up the debate that college is not worth it. 

The rhetoric against college was not seen as having as negative an impact as it does now, in the post-COVID-19 era, according to national surveys presented by both Larson and Stankevich, with nearly 48% of Americans who believe a college degree is not worth it.

Solutions that were relayed by both presenters included heavily recruiting students along the I-5 Corridor, partnering with local regional rural high schools to increase college appeal early on in high school, and a program called GAP.

The Guaranteed Admissions Pilot Program, is a newly developed program that was constructed to essentially recruit students as early as ninth grade, and have them be fully accepted to EWU, before even graduating high school.

Too see and read the minutes and statistics themselves click on the link here: Meeting Agendas & Minutes – Eastern Washington University (ewu.edu)