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WOU continues to serve more students with new enrollment recordSalem-News.com
(MONMOUTH, Ore.) - Western Oregon University (WOU), Oregon's most nationally recognized small or mid-sized university, has reached another enrollment record with 6,233 students enrolled for fall 2010. This is an increase of 579 students (10 percent) over last year and a growth of 884 students (17 percent) over the past three years. Growth has grown in both undergraduate and graduate student populations and the student body is continually increasing in diversity.
"Over 900 graduate students are enrolled this fall, an increase of 17 percent compared with fall 2009. With back-to-back years of large growth, graduate enrollment is 37 percent higher than fall 2008. Our students understand that graduate work is a wise investment, and they know their graduate degree will give them a competitive edge in a tight job market," said Dr. Linda Stonecipher, director of Graduate Programs.
The Western Tuition Promise has been a driving factor in increased undergraduate enrollment, as it guarantees a set tuition rate for incoming undergraduates during their four years. With the bad economy this guarantee provides students and their families meaningful security in planning for college expenses. WOU continues to be the only university on the West Coast to offer this level of financial security and savings to its undergraduate students. A new textbook rental program is a key component in WOU's actions to remain the leader in college affordability. The rental program will give students the option of renting or buying a textbook for a number of the most popular classes on campus. This program is funded by a $999,973 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, and $102,500 from the university. WOU was one of only two four-year institutions in the country to receive a grant.
"Western Oregon University has created a strong presence in Oregon and the region with its strong focus on student learning and an absolute commitment on affordability. Our continued growth is a reflection of the confidence that students and their families have in the overall high quality experience that students receive in our small classes, beautiful campus and, incredible facilities," said Associate Provost David McDonald.
WOU has also maintained its position as a leader of excellence in higher education with a number of national recognitions this past year. The university was listed as one of ten schools that are doing things right in a book critically examining current affairs in U.S. higher education, called "Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting our Money and Failing our Kids." The university was also recognized twice by The Education Trust for supporting Hispanic students. They named WOU first in the nation for the smallest white-Hispanic gap in graduation rates among public colleges and universities. They also named WOU a top-ten performer for improvement in graduation rates for underrepresented minority students, and recognized campus for closing the graduation gap between underrepresented minority students and nonminority students. Currently over 10 percent of WOU students are Latino and 17 percent of the overall student population is from underserved minority populations.
Parade Magazine listed WOU as one of the nation's top small public universities and WOU was also noted as being one of the top public small universities in the west by the US News and World Reports rankings of top colleges and universities. The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) has honored WOU for a third year in a row by honoring Karen Sullivan-Vance, director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center, with an Outstanding Advising Award and the Gail Rola Memorial Award. NACADA also recognized Dr. Marita Cardinal, professor of physical education and dance, with a Certificate of Merit for faculty advising. These recognitions are reflective of high quality instruction that students receive at WOU.
The increased enrollment has also resulted in some new facilities on campus, including the opening of Ackerman Hall, a live-learn residence hall, which opened in September. The building was designed and constructed to meet LEED platinum certification and will be the first large-scale, new construction residence hall in the country to reach that standard. Also, a health and wellness facility, featuring a recreation center, will open in winter term of 2011. This includes renovations to the existing Old P.E. building and additional classroom and athletic spaces.
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