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Strong total enrollment at WU reflects recent merger

by Marketing & Communications,

Willamette University’s total fall enrollment increased by 24% since 2020, the highest percentage among 21 colleges and universities in Oregon, according to a recent Portland Business Journal story. 

George Fox University reported the second highest enrollment increase at 12%, followed by Lewis and Clark University at 11%. 

All of the institutions surveyed provided information such as endowment, tuition, faculty and graduation rates. Enrollment information for 2020 was published by the PBJ last November.

Willamette’s increase was primarily fueled by the recent merger with Pacific Northwest College of Art, which aligns with the university’s long-term strategy, said Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Dan Valles

Stabilizing enrollment will help create a more dynamic environment at Willamette, complement the diversification of its growing programs and course offerings — the university’s College of Arts and Sciences alone has offered eight new undergraduate degrees and minors since 2018 — and support its aim to become the leading private university in the Pacific Northwest. 

Enrollment at the College of Law also added to the university’s overall growth. The college saw a 16% increase since last year, largely driven by the restructuring of its admission process into a more holistic one focused on mentorship and transparency, said Dean Brian Gallini

Another boost for the college was the class itself — the college admitted 27% students of color, the highest percentage in the state for the second consecutive year. 

“The college has been working to address access and equity issues in law school admissions by developing direct admission programs with a number of institutions, and this is one result of those efforts,” said Gallini. “I’m thrilled we were able to enroll such a large, talented class and launch their law school journey.” 

Willamette University

University Communications

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