UW Bothell Enrollments Short Of Expectations -- Only 29 Enrolled Of 400 Expected
Walls of the University of Washington's temporary Bothell branch are up, but student counts remain down - despite a recent intensive advertising campaign.
The Canyon Park Business Center building, expected to draw students from North King and South Snohomish counties, will be ready on schedule Aug. 1, said Dan Selin, project manager for Koll Construction.
But UW officials still are uncertain how many students will show up when classes begin in September. They had expected 400 at each of the UW's two branch campuses, but so far 29 have been admitted to UW Bothell, and 50 are enrolled at a sister campus in downtown Tacoma, said Michael Magie, director of academic affairs for the branches.
The university had set a July 1 cutoff date for applications, but has canceled that deadline in an attempt to draw more applicants.
To attract 400 qualified students, the UW needs 600 to 700 completed applications, officials say. As of yesterday, the UW had received 67 applications for the Bothell campus and 149 for the Tacoma campus, Magie said.
That compares with 40 applications for the Bothell branch and 98 for the Tacoma branch in late May, when the UW started a campaign of radio spots, newspapers ads and bus panels. The effort, which ended last week, netted only 82 new applications at a cost of $60,000 - or $732 per new student.
But Magie and members of the Higher Education Coordinating
Board, which conceived the state's branch-campus plan three years ago, believe the advertising campaign was an investment that will pay off as the summer goes on.
``I expect that by the time we get to the end of summer we'll have our target numbers,'' Magie said. The UW has mailed out thousands of applications, and students probably are simply slow to return them, he said.
Magie and others say the slow response does not mean that estimates of the numbers of suburban students interested in taking junior- and senior-level courses were too high.
Admission to the UW branches requires a minimum of 90 college credits with a grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. UW officials convinced legislators last year that as many as 20,000 such students live in the Puget Sound area.
Longtime branch-campus critics in the Legislature already are having a field day with the lagging student interest. Some are suggesting the campus' course offerings are to blame.
``I think they ought to throw out the curriculum and start over,'' said Sen. Gerald Saling, R-Spokane, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Saling said the branches should offer professional degrees such as engineering or accounting.
``I think we ought to be training people to go to work instead of turning out people who are educated and don't know how to work,'' he said.
For their first year, the campuses will offer a selection of liberal-arts classes. Plans call for adding nursing, engineering and other degree programs in later years. Each campus is expected to grow to approximately 5,000 students by 2010.
Faculty members for both campuses have been hired, with 13 instructors scheduled to move into the Tacoma branch Aug. 1 and 13 others moving to the Bothell branch Aug. 15.
About $54 million has been allocated by the Legislature to open five university branch campuses around the state. The money is the first installment of what is expected to be a $350 million commitment to build and operate the branches for the next decade.
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