WSU Enrollment Up, but Down at WSU-Spokane

Pullman’s enrollment is up to 18,805 students, while Spokane has 1,267.

via NW today: Wash. legislators might change GET program – Spokesman.com – Feb. 2, 2011.

While overall WSU enrollment continues to climb, WSU Spokane’s spring enrollment of 1,267 is down from 1,311 in the spring of 2010, or a drop of -3.4% and down from 1,539 in the spring of 2009.

Looks like its time for a chart so we can see the trend over time:


WSU Spokane enrollment falls 17.6% since 2009.

All data came from WSU press releases in their archive.  I could not find a press release for 2003 and the 2002 release did not split out the Spokane enrollment from Pullman; I did not look any further back than that. I assume the above #s are total enrollment and not “Full Time Equivalent” or FTEs. Back in about 2002, the FTE number was about 680 or so and total enrollment is usually about 25% or so greater than the FTE number.

Overall WSU enrollment increased year over year. WSU is a great university – so why the drop at WSU Spokane?

Update: I received a suggestion that WSU-Spokane enrollment is a proxy for the local economy, similar to the airport. WSU-Tri-cities and WSU Vancouver are growing because their local economies are growing; WSU-Pullman is growing because the overall state economy is growing. WSU-Spokane is declining because the local economy is not healthy and the local health care employment market is tough (WSU-Spokane’s primary focus is health care and health sciences.). However, as shown in a later post, EWU’s enrollment has gone up steadily. We also know that WSU’s multi-campus enrollment has risen; only in Spokane has it gone down. Therefore, the issues regarding WSU-Spokane enrollment are likely due to something else besides the local economy.

Related: The much desired Spokane medical school initiative has been postponed until at least 2022. There’s no funding to even start such a project until at least 2022.

Looking at how data changes over time is critical to good reporting and understanding what is happening in Spokane. The SR often leaves out historical context that would help our interpretation of the story.

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2 Responses to WSU Enrollment Up, but Down at WSU-Spokane

  1. Pingback: More higher education data charts for Spokane « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

  2. Pingback: The importance of a research university to creating a sci-tech economy « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

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