SPU Welcomes Class of 2013

Most Diverse Student Body, Record Number of Graduate Students

Seattle, WA - They haven’t started school yet, but the Class of 2013 at Seattle Pacific University is already breaking records. The incoming class is the most diverse one in the school’s 118-year history with 29 percent ethnic minority students, an increase of 11 percentage points from last year. For the second year in a row, a record number of graduate students have enrolled.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jobe Korb-Nice says the increase in ethnic minority students is related to SPU’s commitment to racial reconciliation. “Because of this commitment and the hearty efforts of many folks across campus, our student body is the most diverse yet,” says Korb-Nice. “I’m certain that our campus will continue to change as we focus on these commitments, and this makes me very excited!”

Despite the troubled economy, SPU will welcome 3,066 undergraduate students when classes start on Monday, September 28. This is the third largest undergraduate class on record. The number of graduate students is projected at 914, which is also a new record for SPU. The increased graduate numbers are due to SPU’s two new graduate programs in the School of Theology, and strong enrollment in the master’s programs in nursing and education. The total projected enrollment is 3,980, slightly higher than last year.

While there are many new faces, there are a lot of familiar ones. The number of returning students (students returning for Autumn Quarter after finishing Spring Quarter, also known as the persistence rate) is 88 percent, another school record. (The average persistence rate among SPU’s peer institutions is 84 percent.)

Here are some of the enrollment statistics for Autumn 2009.

  • Total enrollment: 3,980 including undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, and non-matriculated students. This is slightly more than last year.
  • 29 percent of new students (high school and transfers) are from ethnically diverse backgrounds (This is an increase of 11 percentage points from 2008.)
  • Persistence rate (students returning for Autumn Quarter): 88 percent
  • New Freshmen (high school students only): 690 (fourth largest class in 10 years)
  • Transfer students: 240 (largest class since 2004)

Vice President for Administration and University Relations Marjorie Johnson attributes the strong enrollment numbers to the behind-the-scenes work of faculty and staff.

“Faculty and staff did a tremendous job in helping our students find ways to continue their college education,” says Johnson. “We also made a strong commitment with financial aid to help families hard hit by the economic downturn.”

Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009