Evergreen Sees Largest Undergrad Enrollment Increase in 40 Years

Evergreen staff
Oct 09, 2023
Press Release
New students at the 2023 Orientation enjoy the sounds of the Artesian Rumble Arkestra.

On its 10th day of classes, The Evergreen State College proudly announces another surge in enrollment for the 2023-24 academic year, marking the second consecutive year of remarkable growth.  

This year the college is celebrating a 23% increase in new student enrollment compared to the previous year. Undergraduate enrollment has grown by 11%, representing the most substantial increase since 1980.  

"We are thrilled to witness such substantial growth at Evergreen,” said Dr. John Carmichael, Evergreen president. “This success underscores our commitment to providing a distinctive approach to teaching and learning that adapts to the evolving needs of our students and their families.” 

“The sustained growth in enrollment is a testament to the dedication of our staff and faculty,” added Executive Vice President Dr. Dexter Gordon. “They have worked tirelessly to navigate the changing landscape of higher education and our world. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering a supportive learning environment that equips our students with the tools to make a lasting impact in whatever career path they choose.” 

Athletic Expansion

In addition to enrollment growth, Evergreen is breaking new ground in athletics. Starting this academic year, the institution now proudly offers men’s and women’s wrestling and cross-country teams, becoming the only four-year college in Washington to have an intercollegiate wrestling program. This expansion is made possible by the generous donation from Evergreen alum Kim Kaufman ('78) and her husband, Jimmy Goldsmith.

Campus Infrastructure Expansion

Anticipating the increase in students on campus, Evergreen added 125 more beds to its on-campus housing over the summer. The comprehensive rehabilitation of Building A has successfully alleviated housing stress for students, enabling them to focus on their education. 

William Ward, Chief Administrative Officer for Evergreen, expressed his excitement, stating, “We appreciate the great work of Willdan Consultants, the contractor who designed, led and executed the project in consultation with the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services and Evergreen’s dedicated facilities and residential and dining services staff.” 

Highlighting First-Generation and Diverse Student Growth 

"Evergreen’s first-generation students saw a significant bump this year, adding 68 new students whose parents did not get a four-year degree,” explained Dr. Gordon. “We are welcoming 274 students who are the first in their family to attend college, comprising 30 percent of this year’s new student class. We also have a more diverse student population, with a 6 percent increase over last year for Latinx and Native American/Alaska Native students. We are committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment that reflects the diversity of our community and this growth demonstrates that students are finding their place at Evergreen.” 

Increased Enrollment from Neighboring Counties and National Recognition 

More first-year students direct from high school in neighboring counties across Washington are selecting Evergreen as their college of choice. With an over 40 percent increase, the institution has more than doubled the number of students from Mason County and seen significant increases in Pierce, King and Thurston counties. 

Evergreen has received national recognition, ranking No. 20 out of over 600 colleges and universities across the country as a “Best Bang for the Buck College” and No. 4 for a Master’s University. The college was also ranked fourth best out of 613 institutions awarding bachelor's and master’s degrees. 

Positive Impact of Return-to-Learn Initiative

Evergreen’s initiative to engage former students to return and complete their degrees is also having a positive impact. In Fall 2021, there were 45 returning Greeners who took advantage of a special incentive scholarship from the The Evergreen State College Foundation. This year that number jumped to 75. 

Tacoma Campus Growth

The college's Tacoma Campus is also experiencing significant enrollment growth, especially in the new Early Childhood Education degree program. New student enrollment has increased to 63 from 38 last year on the campus, with nearly half enrolled in this innovative program. 

College leaders agree that these increases define the appeal of an Evergreen education, as now more than ever, students are being intentional about where they want to go to college. They are looking for a place that reflects their values, offers hands-on immersive learning and provides evidence that their degree will help them meet their future goals. 

For over 50 years, Evergreen has been a place where students can embrace the rigor of learning, engage in challenging innovative ideas and receive unwavering support as they acquire the skills needed to forge their own paths in the world. Evergreen remains dedicated to the legacy of encouraging independent thinkers and empowering future leaders. 

For more information about The Evergreen State College, please visit www.evergreen.edu.