UW Tacoma freshman class nearly full

Nearly 180 students have committed to enrolling in the University of Washington Tacoma’s first freshman class, marking a successful recruiting effort and validating the need for a new four-year university in the South Sound region.

UW Tacoma has received 484 applications for the more than 125 seats funded by the legislature, and 175 students have confirmed that they intend to enroll. More than 60 percent of the freshman class is expected to receive a scholarship.

“I am very excited about the quality and diversity of our first group of freshmen,” Chancellor Patricia Spakes said. “We have worked hard to prepare to educate first-year students, and I can’t wait for their first day of classes in September.”

Since the Governor signed legislation a year ago establishing four-year baccalaureate options in Tacoma, Bothell and Vancouver, donations have been flowing into the newly established UW T freshmen scholarship fund. UW Tacoma has received more than $1.8 million to support freshman scholarships.

“We’re seeing a lot of excitement from students and parents about UWT becoming the region’s new four-year public university,” Spakes said.

“Community leaders know that high-quality, affordable education transforms lives and communities. University programs keep talented people in our community, enhance cultural offerings and social services, and make the region more attractive to new and relocating businesses.”

Response from prospective students has been tremendous, according to Dan Garcia, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services. A few spots are still open. As of this week, applications are still being accepted, Garcia said. Students are continuing to apply to UW Tacoma well past the deadline other colleges have set for applications. Because UW Tacoma’s freshman program is new, many students are still becoming aware of the low-cost, high-quality option of earning a UW degree in the South Sound region.

“As students evaluate their offers from other schools and consider costs and quality, UW Tacoma becomes very attractive for some,” Spakes said. “We remain open for those stellar students who decide that they would rather stay close to home to save money or have realized they have a great option at UW Tacoma without going away.”

UW Tacoma’s freshmen will be part of an engaging interdisciplinary program in a small-campus, urban environment surrounded by museums, shops and restaurants. Freshmen will study in the same group of students all year, in classes of 25 students per faculty member, so they will really get to know their professors and other students.

UW Tacoma has a tradition of providing upper-division coursework toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees for students transferring from community colleges and professionals wanting more education. Last spring, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed historic legislation authorizing the university to begin accepting freshmen and sophomores. The new program will offer first- and second-year students an opportunity to earn a UW degree close to home, with access to world-class faculty and research in a small-campus setting.