Western’s Fall Enrollment Sets New Records for Diversity and Graduate Programs

Despite the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Washington University’s fall enrollment numbers held steady with the previous year, while posting record gains for diversity, its Graduate School, and a sizeable increase in its first-year class over Fall 2020.

With the return to campus and the majority of the University’s classes being offered in person, total enrollment this quarter at Western is 15,125, within half a percentage point of enrollment in Fall 2020, and the university’s incoming class of first-year students is more than 15% larger than that of Fall 2020.

Factoring in the incoming first-year class, students of color at Western now make up 28.7% of the student body, the highest percentage in the university’s history, and the University’s Graduate School enrollment of 910 is also the highest ever.

Two weeks into the quarter, more than 99% of the students who have at least one in-person class have fully complied with Western’s vaccination mandate, and vaccination rates are similarly high for the campus community as a whole: 94% of Western students and 95% of Western employees are fully vaccinated.

“As I reflect on what our community has accomplished and take stock of key indicators of student and institutional success, I believe we have every reason to feel greatly encouraged by what we’ve achieved,” said WWU President Sabah Randhawa.  “While we are not completely out of the woods, we are nonetheless emerging with renewed purpose and with a strategy that embraces the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural dynamism of our world and takes on the critical challenges of tomorrow.”

Relative to last year, almost 700 students who had left their academic pursuits during the first phases of the pandemic returned to complete their degrees.

Shelli Soto, Western’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management, said being able to offer a safe and stimulating on-campus experience is one key component to the success of this year’s fall enrollment.

“We are thrilled to be back on campus, happy to welcome so many students returning to their studies, and excited to have such a robust cohort of new students joining our community,” Soto said. “One of the key factors in our recruitment and our ability to bring students back to campus continues to be our focus on maintaining the health and safety of our campus community.  Western continues to show why it is an attractive option for students and families.”