EWU enrollment record broken


Student enrollment for 2012 Fall quarter is record-breaking with an overall headcount of 12,587, surpassing last year’s enrollment of 12,130 by more than 450 students.

“Many more students are choosing Eastern because of its quality programs and lower tuition when compared to other public institutions in the state of Washington,” said EWU President Rodolfo Arévalo.

“The strong enrollment number is also the result of the university’s continued focus on retention and student success,” Arévalo said.

Dr. Colin Ormsby, EWU interim vice provost for undergraduate affairs, said, “We’re not only seeing a larger freshman class, but we’re seeing more students return.”

Ormsby commented that he believes the two main factors contributing to a higher than average amount of students returning from one year to the next, is the “university-wide commitment to student retention,” and, “the president’s commitment to student success.”

The implementation of student tools, such as the Soar degree audit, an automatic class waitlist and a class scheduler program, are efforts that have been made to promote student success and retention according to Vice President for Student Affairs Stacey Morgan Foster.

President Arévalo noted that student success is the top priority in Eastern’s new strategic plan, and increased access to academic support services is one example of how retention efforts are helping students.

The new strategic plan that EWU recently implemented includes a student success goal, “To create an environment where students succeed at their highest level.”

Some key strategies to achieving this goal are to “create a system that improves performance of students in developmental courses to accelerate their progress toward a degree,” and, “create greater access to, and increased utilization of, student support services.”

The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Larry Briggs said, “I certainly think [the enrollment increase] indicates the institute is a healthy one.”

According to Briggs, one benefit of having a larger student body is that it “supports the financial side of programs.” With a larger budget and more students, the university will be able to offer additional classes and programs.

Having a larger student body will increase the student-teacher ratio. “That does put some additional pressure on courses,” said Briggs.

“We’ve been very thoughtful to meet the demands of the increase to help minimize pressure on students.”

Ormsby stated that he has received no indication that the goal student-teacher ratio of 25:1 will be compromised.

“The gross is very manageable, very purposeful,” said Morgan Foster. “When you have a campus on the upswing, that is growing, it is an indication of a healthy institution.”

In addition to the larger overall student body, EWU received a record of over 5,000 freshman applications for fall admission. “Fifteen percent more freshmen applied than last year,” said Morgan Foster.

Of the 5,124 applications Eastern received, 4,126 students were admitted and 1,572 enrolled, which surpassed EWU Admissions’ target goal by 2 percent.

This represents the second largest freshman class in school history, as Eastern had 1,600 freshmen in 2005.