Higher Education

The University District, adjacent to Downtown, is home to five universities and serves almost 14,000 students, making it the academic center for the Inland Pacific Northwest.

Continued excellence in research and education and the proximity of Gonzaga, Washington State University, and Eastern Washington University satellite campuses and the Riverpoint Higher Education Park to Downtown is beneficial for both the campuses and Downtown. 

$843 million in public/private investments have invigorated the University District, since its 2004 Master Plan.
 Zimmerman / Volk Associates, Inc., a national leader in residential market analysis, completed a formal University District Housing Study showing potential for 1,740 units in the University District Revitalization Area.


Investment by the Downtown Spokane Partnership, City of Spokane, and private developers is prompting residential and mixed-use development at the edges of the University District.

The WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Program and RIDE (Regional Initiatives in Dental Education) program expanded medical and dental programs in 2008.

In 2013, WWAMI started a pilot program to offer the second year of medical school. The WSU Spokane campus has a new health sciences building to accommodate the expansion of this program.

RIDE is an expansion of the University of Washington School of Dentistry (UWSOD) in conjunction with Eastern Washington University and Washington State University. RIDE students spend their first year of dental school at the EWU Riverpoint Campus.

Spokane ranked 38th in a 2006 review of all 331 metro areas in the U.S. on the University Creativity Index. The index is a measure of how US metro areas are capitalizing on their university capabilities and other creative assets. A ranking in the top 50 means a region has considerable assets to work with and is well positioned to leverage those assets for improved innovative and economic development.

Gonzaga University had an enrollment total of 7,690 with approximately 65% undergraduate students in 2013. The Fall 2013 breakdown included 4,980 undergraduates, 2,300 graduate students in graduate programs, 410 in Law School. Gonzaga employs 424 faculty members and 769 staff members. The University has an annual operating budget of $246.7 million.

Washington State University (WSU) Spokane had a total enrollment of 1,223 students in 2012, 76% female and 24% male. Graduate students and professional studies comprise approximately 45% and the remaining 55% are undergraduates. Among the graduate programs offered are Education. Criminal Justice, Nursing, Nutrition and Health Policy and Administration. Professional degrees are offered in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. The average age of a WSU Spokane student is 30. WSU Spokane employs 361 full-time employees.

Eastern Washington University Spokane has 2,400 students, approximately 50% undergraduates, taking classes at the Riverpoint campus. Eastern currently has 164 faculty members at EWU Spokane. Programs at EWU Spokane include: College of Business and Public Administration, Health Sciences Programs – such as Dental Hygiene, Communication Disorders, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy (Doctorate).  EWU overall attendance, including main campus in Cheney and locations in Spokane, Yakima, Vancouver, Bellevue, Seattle, Everett, Tacoma (Lakewood) and Kirkland is 12,587. Student ratio is 44% male, 56% female.

Whitworth University, in north Spokane, has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,249, graduate enrollment of 222, and 162 full-time faculty members. In 2009, Whitworth University began offering classes Downtown in the University District for working adults. 
In 2012, the Downtown campus had grown to 125 undergraduates and 25 graduate students. Programs are offered in Organizational Management with 15-30 students per semester; Management and Accounting with 10-15 students per semester; and Liberal Studies with 100 students per semester. An MBA program, which Is now offered completely Downtown, has 25-30 students per semester.

Community Colleges of Spokane serves almost 30,000 students through Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College. Its District Administration employs 75 staff members in the University District at 501 N. Riverpoint Blvd., owned by the CCS Foundation.

Innovate Washington, located in the heart of the University district, is a statewide, public-private partnership that is a catalyst for economic growth in Washington’s innovation economy. The organization accelerates technology-based innovation through a highly collaborative ecosystem that brings together entrepreneurs, large companies, state government, investors, and industry leaders. In this environment, Innovate Washington creates custom development plans for identified technology sectors, helps promising companies receive the growth capital they need, and supports entrepreneurs through an array of focused tools and services.

Managed facilities and investments support 16 high-tech and life-sciences companies and organizations on Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus and many more off-campus clients through Innovate Washington’s accelerator services and multiple capital access programs.

Spokane facilities managed by Innovate Washington provide over 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art wet labs, light manufacturing space, and conventional office space, all in an acceleration environment.

Spokane Educational Attainment
  • High School Degree: 25.2%

  • Some College: 27.1%
  • Bachelors Degree: 18.2%

  • Post-Baccalaureate Degree: 10.4% (U.S. Census – American Community Survey, 2011)