Have a story idea?Contact Journal-World KU reporter Sara Shepherd:
Kansas University’s total spring enrollment fell by about 2.7 percent this year from the year before — mirroring almost exactly the year-to-year drop-off that took place in the fall semester.
KU’s total enrollment, including the KU Medical Center and the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, fell to 26,258 this spring. In spring 2012, that number was 26,992.
Fall enrollment fell to 27,939 this academic year, also a drop of 2.7 percent.
That pattern is fairly typical, said Matt Melvin, KU’s vice provost for enrollment management. Few KU students enroll for the first time in the spring semester each year, so the spring numbers usually amount to a slight decrease from the fall, because of December graduates and dropouts.
Because of that, spring enrollment is a less important metric to administrators, Melvin said.
“Our emphasis is largely on our fall classes,” Melvin said.
KU’s enrollment for spring 2013 breaks down to 23,059 at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, a 3.2 percent decline, and 3,199 at the Medical Center, an increase of just less than 1 percent. Those percentages, too, are similar to the year-over-year changes in the fall.
In the fall, KU’s enrollment fell for the fourth straight year, though the freshman class grew for the first time since 2008. Officials said that boded well for an enrollment turnaround in the future.
Melvin said this week he’s “cautiously optimistic” about KU’s fall 2013 enrollment as he tracks admissions and housing application numbers.
KU Provost Jeff Vitter said last fall his hopes were for the university’s total enrollment to remain about even in fall 2013 and begin to increase in fall 2014 as bigger incoming freshman classes replace the smaller groups that arrived in 2009-2011. In about four years, he said, he hopes for the total number to reach about 30,000, which is roughly the height it reached in 2008.
KU leaders have said they’ve increased their focus on recruitment, including the introduction of a new slate of four-year renewable scholarships for incoming freshmen.
As they did in the fall, the enrollments at Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University grew by the most among the state’s public universities. K-State’s spring enrollment rose by about 2.9 percent from the year before, to 22,714, and Fort Hays State’s increased by about 6.6 percent to 11,432.
All figures are according to data collected by the Kansas Board of Regents. The numbers remain preliminary, meaning they could still be adjusted.