KU enrollment up slightly, according to official fall count

Only two state universities saw increases in enrollment over 2014

Kansas University’s fall enrollment went up slightly this year, marking the second year in a row it has increased.

KU’s total enrollment is 28,091, which includes 3,383 students at KU Medical Center, according to Kansas Board of Regents official fall enrollment counts released Friday. That’s an increase of 108 students, or about four-tenths of a percent at each campus, from fall 2014.

KU thanks its new freshman class.

KU’s freshman cohort grew for the fourth year in a row, this year increasing by 2.5 percent, from 4,084 in fall 2014 to 4,187 this fall, according to KU.

“To see four straight increases in freshman class size and two straight increases in overall enrollment is good news,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a KU news release, “and it’s especially noteworthy in the context of university enrollment trends statewide.”

KU and Fort Hays State, where enrollment increased 2.8 percent, were the only state universities that saw enrollment rise this year, according to the Regents enrollment report.

Enrollment went down 2.5 percent at Kansas State, 3.4 percent at Wichita State, 3.1 percent at Pittsburg State and a fraction of 1 percent at Emporia State.

Statewide, overall university enrollment went down 890 students, or just under 1 percent, to 94,280 students, according to the Regents report. Community college enrollment went down 2.9 percent to 72,599. Technical college enrollment went up 6.3 percent to 7,277.

The official fall enrollment census is taken on the 20th day of classes. For KU, that was Monday.

Freshman class records

In addition to the freshman class’s growth, KU touted its quality. According to KU, the new freshmen class:

• Has the highest average high school GPA and second-highest average ACT score (25.2) in KU history.

• Set KU records for percentage of students with an ACT/converted SAT score of 30 or higher (16.9 percent) and an ACT score of 27 or higher (38 percent).

• Has the second-highest percentage of minority students (22.3 percent) on record.

University leaders say new academic experiences and recruitment procedures appear to be working.

One example came with the KU Core Curriculum launched two years ago, Gray-Little said. “We became one of the few public Association of American Universities institutions to specifically include undergraduate research, internships and study abroad in undergraduate curriculum.”

Matt Melvin, vice provost of enrollment management, said in KU’s news release that the university has made a more purposeful, data-informed effort in recent years to “identify, attract, fund and enroll best-fit students.”

Some minorities up, others down

In the minority category of the new freshman class, one segment, international students, went up dramatically while another category, black students, saw the biggest drop in number of students from 2014 to 2015.

According to KU data:

There are 289 foreign students in the new class, which is 142 (or 96.6 percent) more than last year.

There are 179 black students in the class, which is 68 (or 27.5 percent) fewer than last year.

International student recruitment, in part through KU’s one-year-old International Academic Accelerator Program, has been a priority for KU, which was pleased with the bump in numbers.

“That really speaks to the fact that we have the brand to recruit nationally and internationally,” university spokesman Joe Monaco said.

Regarding black students, he said, “certainly, we’d prefer to have seen African-American freshman student enrollment increase this year … This will continue to be a priority for the university.”

The number of black freshmen this fall is lower than 2014 and 2013, but higher than previous years, according to KU data.

The new freshman class has 336 Hispanic students (up 10.5 percent from last year), 222 multiracial students (same as last year) and 180 Asian students (up 2.9 percent from last year).