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Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 1993

COLLEGES FORECAST ENROLLMENT SURGE

November 24, 1993

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— The latest enrollment reports from the state's six public universities don't provide evidence of massive enrollment increases predicted for the late 1990s.

The 0.9 percent enrollment drop this fall semester at Kansas Board of Regents universities belies the future.

Ray Hauke, regents' director of planning and budget, said a wave of Kansas high school graduates will descend on Kansas University and the other five state schools in two years.

"It has not yet started to hit in terms of the enrollment growth that we're likely to incur," he said.

Overall enrollment in the university system is expected to increase 0.5 percent in 1994 but surge 6 percent in fall 1995. That's an extra 5,000 students in one year.

State officials think regents' university enrollments will continue to climb through the year 2000.

Regents Chairman John Montgomery said all of Kansas higher education will be challenged by the boom in high school graduation.

It will tax instructional and support service budgets at regents' universities, he said.

"Some schools -- KU, K-State -- are maxed out on the number of students they can take," he said.

This fall there were 82,909 students spread among six universities -- KU, Kansas State, Wichita State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State.

A new regents' report says enrollment declined this fall at the Big Three -- KU, KSU and WSU. However, enrollment increased at the three other schools.

The biggest drop was at Kansas State University, which reported a 2 percent decrease to 19,695. KU's Lawrence campus tally fell 1.3 percent to 26,127.

Largest gain: FHSU, which increased 1.7 percent to 5,701.

"These shifts can't be viewed as a huge trend," Hauke said.

During the past five years, enrollment at KU dropped 0.7 percent. That's consistent with KU's goal of maintaining stable enrollment.

At three regents' universities -- WSU, PSU and FHSU -- enrollment change over the past five years reached double digits.

Enrollment increased 14.5 percent at FHSU and 10.5 percent at PSU. Several factors contributed to WSU's enrollment decline of 14.5 percent since 1989, Hauke said.

Students are concerned about crime around the WSU campus, there are community colleges within commuting distance of Wichita and tuition at WSU has increased dramatically the past several years, he said.

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