Archive for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Several schools at KU — including engineering, pharmacy — buck trend of declining enrollments

September 28, 2011


Although Kansas University reported a 2.8 percent decline in its fall enrollment to 28,718 students, some schools reported gains.

For example, the School of Pharmacy, on the heels of a major expansion, added 69 students to reach a record high. And KU’s School of Engineering’s undergraduate enrollment reached a 29-year high.

Six of the 10 schools on the Lawrence campus, however, lost students. The largest percentage enrollment losses came in the schools of Architecture, Design and Planning; Education; and Law, which all lost between 5.8 percent and 6.9 percent of their enrollments. Information on specific degree program enrollments for the fall won’t be available until late this year or in early 2012, university officials said.

Here’s a look at enrollment, by school, on KU’s Lawrence and Edwards campuses.


2,452 in 2010; 2,549 in 2011; up 97 or 4.0 percent.


586 in 2010; 655 in 2011; up 69 or 11.8 percent.

Social Welfare

572 in 2010; 589 in 2011; up 17 or 3.0 percent.


522 in 2010; 527 in 2011; up 5 or 0.9 percent.

Liberal Arts and Sciences

15,603 in 2010; 14,849 in 2011; down 754 or 4.8 percent.


1,911 in 2010; 1,789 in 2011; down 122 or 6.4 percent.

Architecture, Design and Planning

1,078 in 2010; 1,006 in 2011; down 72 or 6.9 percent.


518 in 2010; 488 in 2011; down 30 or 5.8 percent.


948 in 2010; 921 in 2011; down 27 or 2.8 percent.


1,644 in 2010; 1,640 in 2011; down 4 or 0.2 percent.


LogicMan 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the list.

Some edits though -- 2010 and 2011 reversed in the list.

ahyland 6 years, 6 months ago

Fixed it. Thanks!

And you're welcome. Thanks for your suggestion on yesterday's story!

LogicMan 6 years, 6 months ago

What do others think - do the above changes represent the expectations for post-graduation employment? In these tight times, I'd guess so.

akuna 6 years, 6 months ago

It does seem to match post-graduation employment expectations. I've heard that recent graduates from journalism, architecture, law, and education are having tough time finding jobs. I'm kinda surprised business is on the list of declines. I'm surprised music increased too.

It would be interesting to see a breakdown comparison between KU, KSU and peer institutions. That would help frame the conversation in regards with tuition increases and the general state of the economy.

KU did make a bold move a few years ago with the tuition compact. It might prove to be a case where listening to customers bites KU in the ass. The supposition is that parents and students want predictable tuition costs. KU management took that idea and created a flat rate tuition program that front loads tuition in order to reduce the tuition in the later years. I think what the KU management failed to realize is that parents and students want predicable AND cheap tuition.

I have noticed a lot more KU advertisements around the web. Maybe they're taking this seriously and trying to attract more students.

Caroline Bennett 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean. Freshmen most certainly can and do enroll in engineering programs.

kujayhawk7476 6 years, 6 months ago

Overall enrollment at Kansas State increased and that is an alarming fact. How much does KU's enrollment decrease relate to the ineffective leadership of the chandellor and her team? I think a lot. She was a bad hire and must go.

SnakeFist 6 years, 6 months ago

I think its a combination of poor employment opportunities for many other majors and the fact that tuition is the same, plus or minus special fees, whether you get a degree in english or engineering. As long as the increasing cost of getting certain degrees doesn't reflect the lower value (financially speaking) of those degrees, I think we'll see more people moving away from them.

But I still don't understand why KU wants enrollment to continually increase given that most classes fill way too quickly and many students can't get into the classes they want. Where is the logic in cutting/not adding sections and then pushing for higher enrollment?

Lastly, KU micromanages their degrees, especially their BA degrees. As cost increases, fewer students are going to want to incur additional loans to take west civilization, foreign language, and similar classes that don't relate directly to what they're interested in.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see Liberal Arts and Sciences broken down by Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities.

My suspicion is that sciences are seeing higher enrollments, and that the drop-offs are occurring primarily in the humanities and arts.

It is not surprising that engineering and pharmacy are seeing increased enrollments, given the large amounts of resources that have gone into these schools in the last few years, resulting in increased exposure, visibility, and desirability.

The same sort of resources and campaign is needed for other units at KU.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 6 months ago

In other words, the reason that engineering and pharmacy have increased enrollments is that there has been a concerted effort over the last two years to increase enrollment, coupled with new buildings and increased resources from the state.

The State of Kansas financed a new Pharmacy building. The state hasn't funded a new building like this at KU-Lawrence in many years and is not likely to do so again in the near future.

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