Western’s Fall 2022 First-Year Cohort is the Largest in WWU History

Friday, October 7, 2022

WWU also sees gains in Graduate School, Honors College enrollment


Recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Washington University’s fall enrollment is showing strong signs of a return to pre-pandemic levels with the largest incoming first-year cohort – 3,225 new students – in the institution’s 129-year history.

"As impressive as the first-year enrollment numbers may be, our goal is not simply to enroll more students," said WWU President Sabah Randhawa. “We also need to ensure that we address the disproportionate economic and health impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on disadvantaged populations and ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed at every stage of their education and graduate ready to take on critical problems and make important contributions to their communities."

Western’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Shelli Soto said the record-setting class was a big step forward to returning the university to pre-pandemic enrollment levels.
“After two years of smaller cohorts entering Western, the record-setting Fall 2022 cohort of new first-year students is creating great vibrancy on campus.  Overall enrollment will continue to be smaller than before the pandemic as the smaller classes of the last two years move through to graduation, but we are thrilled that there is such extraordinary interest in educational opportunities at Western among college-bound students.  This is a compelling sign of the strength of the future health of the institution,” she said.  “So many across Western have played a part in the recruitment of our new students, and we are especially thankful to the many alumni and friends who contributed to scholarship funds that aid these students.”

This is a compelling sign of the strength of the future health of the institution.

Other highlights from the snapshot of enrollment this fall include university residences near capacity; a student body that is 99 percent in compliance with COVID vaccine policy; an in-person instruction rate of more than 96 percent; robust enrollment in Western’s graduate programs; and an 83.4 percent FAFSA completion rate among Western’s new first-year students.  In the state of Washington, about 42 percent of last year’s high school seniors completed a FAFSA.

In addition, the university’s Honors College received a record number of applications – almost 1,100 – which resulted in another first-year record cohort for Western of 244 new Honors students.  It is a diverse group with 26 percent identifying as students of color, the highest representation in the history of the College.

“Pulling 244 students from that applicant pool was incredibly difficult because there were so many amazing applicants,” said Scott Linneman, the director of Western’s Honors College. “And our Peer Mentor program will help support this year’s growth by connecting incoming Honors students with existing Honors students from underserved backgrounds and facilitating partnerships with cross-campus allies to make their transition as smooth as possible.”

For more information about Western’s first-year cohort or campus enrollment figures, contact Western’s Office of University Communications at news@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-3350.