WSU’s Global campus continues to grow while other campuses decline

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University (WSU) saw an increase in enrollment through its Global campus and in some programs, but has seen an overall decline this fall.

Overall enrollment was down by 4.2 percent. The Global campus, which combines the university’s online-based programs and offerings, saw a growth of 1.2 percent, just short of 4,100 students.

WSU said it has a total of 29,843 students this fall, which is lower than the 31,159 students that enrolled in 2020. Systemwide, the university welcomed more graduate students compared to last year, which grew by around 3 percent.

Also, they said the number of students pursuing M.B.A and Executive M.B.A. programs, Doctor of Medicine degrees and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees all increased this fall compared to last year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and its related impacts have taught us very important lessons that’ll remain relevant in the years to come,” said Saichi Oba, vice provost of enrollment management. “Foremost among these lessons is that campus visits are vital to our ability to attract future Cougs, and that in-person events cannot be substituted completely with virtual offerings.”

The university said efforts to retain students year-to-year are also a top priority among campus leaders.

In response to a discussion about popularity of certain degrees like computer science at other schools, Provost and Executive Vice President and Pullman Chancellor Designate Elizabeth Chilton spoke to WSU’s role in helping all students succeed.

“Often, students start out thinking that they want to go into field X or Y, and actually discover something totally different,” Chilton said. “So, as a comprehensive research university, we want to, on the one hand, be sensitive to what they are interested in coming in the door but then also understanding that we need to support them throughout all the twists and turns, and acknowledge that they may end up in a very different place.”

The Global campus remains WSU’s second largest campus, trailing only WSU Pullman, which has 19,114 students this fall, down 3.9 percent from fall last year.

Other campuses that saw enrollment declines include WSU Vancouver (7.7 percent), WSU Tri-Cities (9.2 percent), WSU Spokane (5.9 percent) and WSU Everett (16.2 percent).

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