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 outof-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 have continued to grow rapidly, without any recruiting by the university.
Fifty-three percent of freshman applications to the University of Washington are from students who live out of state, although on the university’s three campuses only 18 percent of the students are from other states or countries.
It was more difficult to get accepted to the University of Washington again this fall, but out-of-state students have to work even harder to get in, Ballinger said. The average GPA of UW’s entering freshman class was 3.73, compared to 3.72 last year, and the average SAT score went up from 1790 to 1802.
All of Washington’s public universities are significantly overenrolled compared to what the state budget pays for after years of student increases, Ballinger said.
Enrollment at the Seattle campus of UW is 42,446 this fall compared to 42,094 in fall 2009. Enrollment at the Tacoma campus rose by 7 percent to 3,331 students, compared to 3,111 last year. The Bothell campus reports a count of 3,272 students, compared to 2,801 last fall.
Washington State University reports fall semester enrollment of 25,996 for its four campuses, compared with 25,782 in fall 2009.