The University of Washington-Tacoma enrolled a record number of students in autumn 2017, according to official census counts released by all three UW campuses.
The total enrollment headcount at UW-Tacoma this fall is 5,185. The enrollment growth of 4 percent since autumn 2016 was driven by record-breaking enrollments at all levels and across all groups. A total of 1,807 students, including freshmen and transfers, are new to the campus this year. Of these, 91 percent are Washington residents and 85 percent come from one of the 10 Puget Sound counties.
Underlining the Tacoma campus’s mission of providing increased access to quality higher education, the number of first-generation degree earners continues to increase. 2,600 or 51 percent of enrolled students would be the first in their immediate families to receive a four-year degree upon graduation. 1,500 or 30 percent of the entire enrollment and 45 percent of full-time freshmen who are new to campus are members of underrepresented groups.
Washington Monthly, in its 2017 college rankings, recognizes UW-Tacoma’s impact by naming it the number one master’s degree-granting university nationally for social mobility, a measure of success at recruiting and graduating low-income students, giving them the opportunity to rise up the economic ladder.
In the South Sound, UW-Tacoma actively works to create a college-going culture among K-12 students and their families. Pathways to Promise is a partnership with 32 high schools in nine districts, from Kent in King County to Bethel in Pierce County. Students in the districts have access to transparent, assured admission criteria and UW-Tacoma provides college-bound programming tailored for each high school on topics such as how to start a college or career search, and how to complete college application and financial aid forms. In 2017, almost 300 students were admitted to UW-Tacoma from Pathways to Promise schools, up from 150 in 2012.
“UW-Tacoma is fully committed to our urban-serving mission of equity and inclusion,” said UW-Tacoma Chancellor Mark A. Pagano. “Growth means we are fulfilling that mission by encouraging students who otherwise wouldn’t attend college to come to UW-Tacoma. We have expanded degree options, started a residence hall program and more. But growth alone is not our goal. As our strategic plan says, we grow because we are innovative, and because what we are doing is valued by our region and our students.”
“Since 1990,” said Pagano, “we have helped transform student lives and provided for opportunity where little existed before. We are expanding access to a quality higher education that exposes students to global challenges and prepares them to become critical thinkers. We are engaging them in real-world work experiences in the community through internships and class projects. We are positioning them to become the enlightened work force of the future.”