Near-Record Enrollment for 2003-04 as Minority Percentages Rise

The University of Washington reached near-record enrollment numbers fall quarter as it reported 39,136 students at its Seattle campus. The total was just shy of the record 39,216 students attending last year.

Particularly gratifying, says Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services W.W. "Tim" Washburn, is that the percentage of minority groups in the entering freshman class is very close to the percentages the UW had in 1998-the year before the I-200 voter initiative banned consideration of race in admission practices at state colleges and universities.

He said that African Americans make up 2.85 percent of the freshman class, compared to 2.94 percent in 1998. Similarly, Latinos comprise 4.34 percent compared to 4.65 percent in 1998; American Indians constitute 0.92 percent compared to 1.26 percent in 1998; and Pacific Islanders make up 0.86 percent compared to 0.53 percent five years ago. About 38 percent of the freshmen are students of color.

A key factor in attracting these students are diversity scholarships, Washburn says. More than $7.3 million has been raised since the 2001 inception of the Diversity Scholars Program, with 200 diversity scholars currently enrolled at the UW. "These are very highly recruited students. Scholarships can make a difference." He noted the Costco breakfasts, Chateau Ste. Michelle benefit concerts and Bon-Macy's luncheons as all contributing to these efforts.

The total for new freshman enrollments is 4,977, slightly higher than the goal of 4,800, Washburn says. In the past a sizeable percentage of students who pay a deposit change their minds during the summer. This year, fewer students decided to attend a different university. "We had a class that was more committed to attending the University than in the past," he explains.

A record number of 15,773 high school graduates applied to the UW this year. Of those who started fall quarter, the average high school G.P.A. was 3.67 and average combined SAT score was 1180-both slightly higher than last year's freshman class.

The UW's other campuses also reported near-record enrollments. UW Tacoma has 2,008 students and UW Bothell has 1,613. Both campuses offer courses at the junior, senior and graduate/professional levels.

The Seattle campus will admit about 2,315 transfer students from the community college system over the course of the year, Washburn adds.

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