Kansas University's fall enrollment is down for the fifth straight year, but school officials touted a larger freshmen class that had record ACT scores.
Total enrollment for the current semester is 27,784, which is 155 fewer students than in fall 2012, according to figures released today. It is also 2,318 students fewer than the school's 30,102 in 2008. That is a 7.7 percent drop in 5 years.
Fall enrollment at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses stands at 24,435 students, which is a drop of 142; and 3,349 students at the KU Medical Center, a decline of 13.
KU rival Kansas State University recorded an increase of 203 students to make its 24,581-student enrollment more than KU's Lawrence and Edwards campuses. K-State's total, however, includes its campus in Salina and its veterinary school, and it still trails KU's total enrollment, counting the medical school.
Fall enrollment ( .PDF )
Despite the lower total enrollment numbers at KU, officials focused on KU's freshman class of 4,000 students, up 6.1 percent from last year's figure of 3,771.
The average freshman ACT score was 25.3, up two-tenths of a point from last year's average. More than one-fifth, 21.8 percent, are minority students, an increase from 21.3 percent last year.
"Students are recognizing the advantages of studying at a flagship research university and all the opportunities that come with being a Jayhawk," KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. "That so many top scholars are choosing KU is a testament to the high quality of our academic programs, as well as to our revitalized recruitment efforts."
She added, "The goal now will be to help our new Jayhawks be successful in their first year, so that they can stay on track to graduate on time."
The decline in overall enrollment at KU was due to a drop of 344 in the number of students seeking master's degrees.
Undergraduate student enrollment stood at 19,199, up from 19,140; master's enrollment was at 3,170, a decrease from 3,514; and doctoral students numbered 5,415, an increase from 5,285.
"There is growing competition when it comes to master’s degree programs," KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. "We’re responding to that challenge by creating more flexible offerings and through entirely online programs, such as the special education master’s degree launched earlier this month," Vitter said.
Vitter also said the university is making changes to how graduate students are recruited, and working to increase funding that can be offered, particularly for doctoral students.
Preliminary fall enrollment figures released today by the Kansas Board of Regents show a system-wide decrease of 1.33 percent, or 2,504 students, across the state's 32 public universities, community colleges and technical colleges.
The fall semester enrollment total is 186,190 as of census day at each institution, a preliminary headcount of students enrolled at each institution on the 20th day of class.
Statewide, enrollment was nearly flat at the seven public universities, with a decrease of 123 students; technical colleges saw an increase of 472 students, while community colleges fell by more than 3,000 students.