Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Emporia newspaper readers tie enrollment drops to tuition hikes; NASCAR looking to expand its presence on college campuses; federal grant to support Kansas City, Kan., art programs

October 6, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• Dropping enrollments aren’t only of concern at KU; Emporia State University was the only other of the six state universities in the Board of Regents system to see an enrollment decrease this fall.

The Emporia Gazette conducted an unscientific Web survey (that’s about as unscientific as surveys get) to get a sense of what the community felt was the reason behind the school’s enrollment decrease.

That community’s reasoning seemed to mesh with many comments on the story I wrote about KU’s enrollment decline. (Pretty much everything I write, I guess, is kind of like an informal unscientific Web survey).

Both communities seemed to think that increasing tuition was a major reason behind the enrollment dropoffs.

It’s an interesting thought, but it made me think a bit. I’m certainly not discounting the impact of the ever-increasing tuition hikes on families’ pocketbooks.

Emporia State has the second-lowest tuition in the state, far lower than Kansas State, which has certainly increased tuition right along with the other Kansas schools. Kansas State, however, saw enrollments increase by 275 students this year, or about 1.2 percent.

I’m going to be looking further at KU’s admissions efforts soon. If you’ve got something you’d care to share on how KU recruits students, please do.

• NASCAR, in an apparent attempt to drum up interest among a college-aged crowd, has appointed two KU students — Jaime Grabel and Apryl Tillman — as NASCAR ambassadors for the KU campus.

The mission of the program, according to NASCAR, is to “expand our interaction with the college audience by integrating the NASCAR brand into the college lifestyle.”

I’m not sure if NASCAR and colleges are necessarily a match made in heaven, but, using the program, they hope to “integrate NASCAR into the college lifestyle” with viewing parties, NASCAR 2011 The Game video game tournaments and even car washes.

Perhaps I ran with the wrong crowd in school. Is there a big NASCAR following at KU that I’ve missed?

• An effort from KU to help public school students achieve higher standards in the arts got some regional press attention after KU released a statement on the program on Tuesday.

The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service and the Music Research Institute for the KU School of Music, and the Kansas City, Kan., public school district are collaborating on a $777,187 federal grant.

The funds will allow KU to conduct professional development to 50 schools and 121 arts educators in the district, and will help them incorporate new techniques into their classes, in the hopes that the skills will translate into academic gains.

• Heard on the Hill is one giant academic gain for your brain every morning. Do your part and contribute by submitting a tip at


Bob Forer 4 years ago

While I think increased tuition has something to do with the drop in enrollment, lets not forget the fact that the economy is still in bad shape. Many families are struggling to make ends meet. Even without the increases in tuition, I am sure some would forego or postpone a higher education. The tuition increase just makes it worse.

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Those NASCAR ambassadors have their work cut out for them. I'd love to hear their pitch as to why watching cars race around a circle is something college students would shell out the price of a ticket to watch.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years ago

NASCAR, like most professional (including major college) sporting organizations require large amounts of public funding and subsidies to do what they do. A little PR here and there is just part of keeping the funding stream flowing.

dncinnanc 4 years ago

I remember K-State recruited me pretty hard in high school... the rep would always say hi to me by name when he was there, and almost made me reconsider them as an option. Having said that, KU really didn't do squat as far as recruiting goes.. they almost made it feel like I had to pursue them. As a stubborn 17 year old in Topeka though, there was no question between Lawrence v Manhattan.... sometimes I wonder though...

squawkhawk 4 years ago

Our daughter started school this year at KU after 2 years at JCCC. She also looked at KSU and talked with the folks there before choosing KU. Honestly, the people at KSU seemed to be a lot more interested in her than those at KU who seemed to be going through the motions. Additionally, the counselor at KU never followed up on anything she said she was going, transfer credits...etc. In fact, she flat out lied and said she never received any of the half dozen or so calls my wife or daughter made to her and blew it off like it was no big deal. In the end my daughter chose KU only because it kept her closer to home and her boyfriend but sometimes she wonders if she made the right choice. If this type of attitude and work ethics are pervasive at KU these days then it is no wonder that that enrollment is declining.

tolawdjk 4 years ago

My experiences years ago pretty much mesh with what people are saying today. KSU did tons better on recruiting. Letters, calls, campus visits...KSU was lightyears ahead. They were the first to put a scholarship package out in front of me. At the end of the day, the KU scholarship package was bigger, I went there, and I made the right choice.

However, I don't think enrollment numbers in a vacuum are what you need to look at, as I am guessing it isn't just general "lib arts" that is getting the uptick at KSU. Look at individual school or department enrollment numbers.

Same goes with ESU. ESU is a huge teacher school. Or at least it was when I was of the age to look at schools to attend. Given the glut of educators in the market, it has to be pretty darn obvious why ESU's numbers are decreasing.

Michael Rowland 4 years ago

Tuition and enrollment is kind of chicken and the egg, are less people enrolling because tuition is going up and they can't afford it or is tuition going up because less people are enrolling, requiring enrolled students to pay more to make up the deficit in the university's budget?

imagold 4 years ago

NASCAR is looking for new revenue as their older fan base is leaving in droves. The fans who have been around since the Petty's, Dale Sr., Yarborough, and D. Waltrip have either died, been hit hard with the economy, or become tired of the "chase" system, green-white-checker finishes, the "lucky dog" and rising prices. (I think more are tired of the new system.) Look at the empty seats in the stands on raceday. The younger crowd probably wouldn't know how the champion was crowned pre-Chase, so the change wouldn't make a difference to them. The sponsors need revenue as well. They don't sponsor race teams out of the goodness of their heart. They need someone to be watching the races or the mandatory swig of cola/energy drink before an interview and the hat dance in Victory Lane is for naught. So go after the college-age, known-to-party, group that might become fans and spend a little money at the race track or the store. (I was surprised to see "Watch the race at the Wheel" ads. Huh??? The race?!?)

thinkinganalytically 4 years ago

As I have posted before, the KU Honors College did a very good job trying to recruit my son.

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