Enrollment for CWU professional pilot program suspended

Mitchell Roland, Senior Reporter

CWU’s professional pilot program will no longer accept new enrollees. Students who were already accepted into the program for the fall have had their admission to CWU rescinded, while current students have not been impacted by the announcement.

In a press release, the university announced on June 16 that they have suspended fall enrollment into the program and are considering plans to modify or discontinue the program entirely. 

The press release said there were several factors that went into the decision, including a budget deficit of over $4 million over the past three years and a lack of a lease beyond October 2023 for the program’s hangar at Bowers Field Airport as reasons for the suspension.

The press release says there are no alternative facilities for the program, and due to the budget deficit, building a new hangar at the airport is “not a viable strategy.”

In the release, CWU Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Life Michelle DenBeste also cited COVID-19 as a reason for the suspension, saying that airlines have grounded portions of their fleet due to a decrease in air travel.

“The pandemic has disrupted the progress of existing students in the program to the point where the university cannot accept new students this fall,” DenBeste said. “Flight equipment and instructional capacity will be fully required to complete delayed instruction for existing students.”

According to the press release, CWU will consider potential plans for the aviation program “once the situation stabilizes.”

The aviation management major and minor were not impacted by the June 16 announcement, and no permanent faculty positions are expected to be eliminated.