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Enrollment rises at state’s public colleges

SEATTLE – Enrollment is up again this fall at Washington’s public universities, despite cuts in state dollars to support their operations.

Part of the enrollment jump comes from an intentional increase in out-of-state students, who give a university a financial boost through the much higher tuition they pay.

The University of Washington, for example, has about 160 more freshmen this fall – all from outside Washington state or the country. The increase in out-of-state students was intended to help prevent cuts in in-state enrollment and university programs, said Philip A. Ballinger, assistant vice president for enrollment, admissions.

“If we are to maintain resident enrollment, we have to be able to find ways to do that financially,” Ballinger said. “One way is to enroll a higher number of nonresident students.”

Ballinger says applications from in-state students have plateaued over the past few years, but the number of students applying from other states and countries has continued to grow rapidly, without any recruiting by the university.

All of Washington’s public universities are significantly overenrolled compared with what the state budget pays for after years of student increases, Ballinger said.