Washington Adventist University (WAU), located in Takoma Park, Md., is the fastest growing United States institution of higher education among those in the North American Division.
Data from WAU’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness shows that the six-year growth rate in headcount, from 2007-2011, is 38 percent while the one-year rate, from 2010-2011, is 17 percent. Both figures are higher than that of all other American institutions in the division. Last fall WAU set a new record for highest official headcount in its 107 years with 1,493 students.
The full time equivalents (FTEs) over this period similarly grew at a very high rate. Full time equivalents factor in the number of credit hours taken, and based on a typical full-time load, an approximation of full time students can be derived. WAU’s FTEs grew 68 percent from 2007-2011, and 40 percent during 2010-2011s, also the highest rates among all institutions.
Duane Reid, WAU’s director of Admissions and Recruitment, attributes the institution’s growth over the past three years to several factors: “The university has focused on increasing our graduate program offerings. We now have eight master’s level programs in our School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Additionally, we have benefited from increased retention in all three of our schools. We also believe that improvements made to our physical plant has aided in attracting students to WAU.”
Colleges and universities in this division include Andrews University (Mich.); Kettering College of Medical Arts in Kettering, Ohio; La Sierra University (Calif.); Loma Linda University (Calif.); Oakwood University (Ala.); Pacific Union College (Calif.); Southern Adventist University (Tenn.); Southwestern University (Texas); and Walla Walla University (Wash.). La Sierra University and Loma Linda University, as well as Canadian University College, in Canada, are other institutions with significant positive growth during the period.