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KU enrollment data impressive E-mail
Opinion
Saturday, 07 October 2017 09:09


A SECOND OPINION, The Lawrence Journal-World



The University of Kansas should be applauded for its recently released enrollment numbers that showed not only an increase in students but also record-setting data on student achievement, diversity, retention and graduation.

Last week, the university announced its enrollment had grown for the fourth consecutive year to the highest level in six years.

The Kansas Board of Regents reported that KU has 28,447 students enrolled across all campuses, an increase of 46 students from last September. KU’s enrollment growth came exclusively at the KU Medical Center, whose main campus is in Kansas City, Kan. Enrollment in Lawrence and at the Edwards campus in Johnson County were comparable to 2016.

It’s also noteworthy that KU’s freshman class has the highest average high school GPA and the second-highest ACT score of any in KU history. And the freshmen are the most diverse in KU history. Minority students now comprise 20.6 percent of the student population, and out-of-state students make up 38.4 percent of enrolled students. Both the diversity and out-of-state numbers also are all-time highs for KU.

The university also reported record-setting retention and graduate rates: The one-year retention rate for KU’s fall 2016 cohort is 83 percent, the highest on record. Additionally, 27 percent of the 2013 cohort has graduated in four years, while 62 percent of the 2012 cohort has graduated in five years. Those figures, according to KU, are both all-time highs.

“We’re pleased to have grown our enrollment for the fourth straight year and to have welcomed the most academically prepared and diverse freshman class in history,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said. “To grow as we have, and to do so with such talented freshmen, is a clear sign that high-achieving students want to attend a top research university that offers nationally ranked programs and transformative opportunities.”

KU bucked a trend. Statewide, enrollment at Regents colleges and universities declined slightly. Enrollment at Kansas State fell 4.1 percent, while Emporia State and Pittsburg State also saw declines. Community college enrollment fell 2 percent.

University leaders said the improving enrollment, retention and graduation numbers are a direct result of new recruiting and retention efforts. Last year, KU implemented new admission standards, expanded its recruitment efforts outside of Kansas and revamped financial aid packages.

The “data confirm that, from the way we identify and recruit students to the way we support them once they arrive, we are continuing to make good progress,” said Neeli Bendapudi, provost and executive vice chancellor, said.

It’s impressive to grow enrollment and even more impressive to do so while simultaneously increasing student achievement and diversifying the student body. Hats off to KU for its recruitment efforts and the enrollment trends those efforts have produced.


 

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