Ewu Wants To Recruit From Seattle Area Plan Asks $171,000 For Admissions So Office Can Tell West Side Its Story
After years of filling classes with students from Spokane and nearby counties, Eastern Washington University is looking to Seattle for more students.
Enrollment is down this fall, and the university’s budget is suffering as a result.
An avalanche of high school graduates is expected west of the Cascades, and EWU wants more of them to consider college in Cheney.
On Friday, the university unveiled a proposal to open a recruiting and admissions office in King County.
“We’re pretty invisible once you get across the mountains,” said Provost James Hoffman. “We have simply never tried to market Eastern.”
By attracting more students from Western Washington, EWU could solve its enrollment problem now, and strengthen the university in coming years with the financial boost the additional students would bring.
EWU also is positioning itself to pick up a larger share of an enrollment boom expected from children who are high school age or younger.
“It helps us, and it helps the state,” Hoffman said.
The state estimates at least a 25 percent increase in the number of students seeking admission to Washington colleges by the year 2010.
EWU officials said the university has enough classroom space to handle twice the current enrollment of 7,700 full-time students. That space is in buildings on the Cheney campus as well as downtown Spokane.
This year, only 10 percent of the student body comes from the four counties around Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Olympia.
Nearly 70 percent of the students are from Eastern Washington this year.
“We want to increase the mix of students here,” said university president Mark Drummond.
Students from outside the region would bring a new perspective to the classroom, he said, and they might decide to stay in the region after graduation.
Many of the new 17-to 25-year-old students would likely live on campus or in Cheney, enhancing the social aspects of campus life because there would be more students at events and activities, administrators said.
For the recruiting office, EWU would hire an assistant admissions director at a starting salary of $30,000 a year, a secretary and three part-time admissions counselors.
The office would cost $171,000 in the first year.
The university is asking the Legislature for $516,000 to accommodate 100 new students.
The admissions staff would make contacts with high schools, community colleges and parents in Western Washington to encourage students to enroll at Eastern.
One of the selling points is EWU’s size. Students are more likely to have smaller classes and more personal contact with professors than at the state’s larger universities.
“When you come to Eastern you are going to get a lot more personal attention,” Hoffman said.
The state’s other universities have been more aggressive than EWU in reaching out to other parts of the state.
Central Washington University at Ellensburg has recruited successfully in Western Washington for years, and operates several programs, including a SeaTac branch.
Western Washington University at Bellingham faces high demand from students in the Puget Sound area, and it operates a program in the Seattle area.
Washington State University has a branch campus in Vancouver, and better visibility in Seattle.
The predicted bulge of new college students will start when today’s 10th-graders leave high school.
Currently, there are about 213,000 students enrolled in the state’s two-year and four-year colleges. That number is expected to increase to 230,000 by the year 2000, and to 290,000 by the year 2010.
Unless the state’s higher-education system is expanded, some students will be turned away. Officials say admission standards will be raised, and only the most qualified students will be enrolled.
Washington currently ranks 20th among the states in overall participation in college programs, but that is largely because of a strong community and technical college system.
The state ranks 47th nationwide in the number of juniors and seniors in four-year programs.
EWU officials said their recruitment efforts in Western Washington fit the state’s goal of increasing access to four-year programs.
Provost Hoffman said, “It makes good economic sense for the state for students to go where the capacity is.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Where EWU students are from