SPU Sets a Record While Managing Growth
and Reshaping Its Enrollment
SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY welcomed a record-setting 3,779 students to campus when classes began on September 27. The incoming class is made up of 896 students, closely matching
the target number set out by Seattle Pacific’s
Blueprint for Excellence, which will reshape the University’s enrollment over time. Total enrollment for Autumn Quarter is 2,934 undergraduate, 71 post-baccalaureate, and 825 graduate students.
“SPU is in a new era,” says Marj Johnson, vice president for administration and university
relations. “On-campus enrollment has been at capacity for four years, and we’re now working intentionally to attract students who fit SPU’s vision and to improve graduation rates rather than to simply increase in size.”
Key to the University’s strategy is the ongoing
effort to attract the most academically qualified
students, more males, and more ethnically diverse students. Among new students this year, SPU enrolled 311 male students, up
6 percent from last year to 36 percent of the class; and 141 ethnic minority students, up 3 percent from last year to 16 percent of the class. The incoming class also includes a record number
of National Merit Scholars.
Student retention continues to improve significantly as well.
Eighty-five percent of last year’s freshmen persisted as sophomores this fall, a 6 percent increase over last year, while the five-year graduation rate has increased to 62 percent, also a 6 percent increase over last year. According to Johnson, the improvements coincide with the implementation of SPU’s Common Curriculum in 1998, greater selectivity
at admission in recent years, increasing perception of value, and a responsive financial aid program.
“The goal of all our efforts is to attract and support a balanced enrollment made up of students
with the qualifications and motivation for significant involvement in their communities,
our nation, and the world,” she says. “It is energizing to watch as members of this year’s incoming class begin to explore how they will engage the culture and change the world.”
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