Central Washington University

2014 Quick Stats
400 E. University Way

Ellensburg, WA 98926-7501

Phone: (509) 963-1111
2013-2014 Tuition
male /
rolling admission

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#51 Overall Score: 38 out of 100. Regional Universities (West)

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Central Washington University is a public institution that was founded in 1891. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,737, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 380 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. Central Washington University's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (West), 51. Its in-state tuition and fees are $8,976 (2013-14); out-of-state tuition and fees are $20,502 (2013-14).

Nearly all students who attend Central Washington University (CWU), a public school in Ellensburg, are state residents. In fact, just about 5 percent of freshmen are from outside the state. CWU has about 30 clubs and organizations for students to check out, from the Rodeo Club to the Trombone Studio. Students can also get involved in several academic hubs on campus, including the Center for Excellence in Leadership and the Center for Student Empowerment. On the sports fields, the CWU Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). Graduate students can complete degrees through the Central Washington University Department of Art, among other departments. Notable alumni of Central Washington University include Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna, who led the Wildcats to a national football championship while at CWU, and Doug Wood, chief operating officer of clothing manufacturer Tommy Bahama.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Students come to CWU to learn from faculty passionate about teaching, in small classes that average just 18 students. Nationally recognized professors in chemistry, geology, history, music, physics and a wide variety of other fields provide the highest quality instruction and mentorship. CWU integrates academic and student life within Living Learning Communities-residence facilities that bring together students who share academic interests. The faculty engages students in deeper exploration of those interests through discussion, research, and community activities.
Students come to CWU because they know, as undergraduates, they will get a chance to "do" what they are learning. Students get real-world experience in the fields they study, whether it is aviation, engineering, chemistry, geology, music, physics, theater, or another field. With faculty mentors, our undergraduates conduct, publish, and present research around the world.
Signature programs include the College of Business, among just 5 percent globally that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The College of Education is one of the nation's largest and a leader in assessment innovation. The Geological Sciences Department is in charge of the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array, the region's earthquake and tsunamis detection network. The nationally recognized music program is the largest and most musically diverse in the Northwest.
Our programs are also accessible at partner colleges throughout the state and online. CWU provides more degree programs online than any other university in Washington. More than $40 million in annual grants and scholarships put this remarkable education within reach of students from all walks of life.
Student life offers exciting, wide-ranging opportunities for students to learn more about academic interests, to serve the community, to compete, or simply to have fun. Students can choose from 130 clubs, including nationally recognized clubs for physics, rugby, and wakeboard. CWU's rugby and wakeboard teams are among the nation's elite. CWU varsity athletics participate in NCAA Division II, where football, men's basketball, women's volleyball, and softball boast impressive records of success.
Students also seek enrichment through international study. CWU offers 75 programs in more than 40 different countries, ranging from a week to an entire school year. The Student Success Office promotes academic, personal, and professional growth within and beyond the classroom. CWU's inclusive, supportive campus environment ensures students have the academic and social help they need for a successful university experience.
A rich and applied approach to academic and student life means CWU graduates are experienced in their fields before they embark on a career or graduate school. They are prepared on day one because they have already moved beyond books to apply their knowledge in real situations. CWU students graduate with a real-world understanding of how to use what they know. Employers say CWU graduates have a practical edge over peers who only know what is in books. Our hands-on approach to education makes learning exciting and relevant. CWU graduates are global leaders, building prosperity as entrepreneurs and aerospace leaders, astronauts, teachers, four-star generals, and Hollywood legends.
Established in 1891, CWU's residential campus is located 100 miles east of Seattle in the historic town of Ellensburg, within the peaceful Kittitas Valley. Nearby are world-class skiing, fishing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Ellensburg is located in the center of Washington state, a short drive from urban nightlife in Seattle or a relaxing weekend in the wine country of central Washington. The campus features beautifully maintained historic buildings as well as state-of-the-art facilities. Students can stroll across campus in just 10 minutes, even if they pause to admire the Japanese Garden or wind sculptures.

General Information

School type public, coed college
Year founded 1891
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar quarter
Setting rural
2012 Endowment $15,974,797


When applying to Central Washington University, it's important to note the application deadline is rolling. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due July 1. The application fee at Central Washington University is $55. It is less selective, with an acceptance rate of 80.2 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity less selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 80.2%
Application deadline rolling
SAT/ACT scores must be received by July 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Central Washington University is 18:1, and the school has 35.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Central Washington University include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Education; Social Sciences; Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services; and Visual and Performing Arts. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 76.3 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 18:1
4-year graduation rate 25%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 23%
Education 18%
Social Sciences 13%
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 7%
Visual and Performing Arts 5%

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Student Life

Central Washington University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,737, with a gender distribution of 49.1 percent male students and 50.9 percent female students. At this school, 24 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 76 percent of students live off campus. Central Washington University is part of the NCAA II athletic conference.

Total enrollment 11,268
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA II

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Campus Info & Services

Central Washington University offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, day care, health service, and health insurance. Central Washington University also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Central Washington University.

Students who have cars on campus N/A
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Central Washington University, 62.4 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $8,192.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

In-state tuition and fees $8,976 (2013-14)
Out-of-state tuition and fees $20,502 (2013-14)
Room and board $9,795 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

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