October 20, 2010 in City

Enrollment rises at state’s public colleges

Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press
Regional enrollment numbers

• Washington State University reported fall semester enrollment of 25,996 for its four campuses, compared with 25,782 in fall 2009. Enrollment at the Pullman campus passed 20,000 students for the first time, up from 19,944 in 2009.

• Eastern Washington University reported a jump in both freshman and ongoing student enrollment this year, adding up to 10,750 full-time equivalent students. This is the second year in a row of record enrollment at Eastern, where 10,504 were enrolled last fall.

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.

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