Kansas State University continues to set records in enrollment and the diversity of its student body. Fall 2014 enrollment is the university’s largest ever at 24,766 students, up from 24,581 students a year ago.
Enrollment has increased at all of the university’s campuses: Manhattan, Salina, Olathe and the Global Campus, which serves distance education students.
“K-State remains the No. 1 choice among Kansas high school students and we continue to attract more of the brightest students from Kansas than ever before,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. “For example, the number of Putnam scholars at K-State — students with ACT scores of 32 and above and GPAs of 3.85 and above — has grown from 107 in fall 2011 to 206 today.”
This fall’s student body also is the university’s most diverse ever and includes 3,579 students who identify as black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or multiracial. That’s up from 3,458 in fall 2013.
“It is clear that K-State would not be experiencing another year of record enrollment without record multicultural student numbers,” said Myra Gordon, associate provost for diversity. “Multicultural students are growing at a rate faster than other groups, and we are excited about the increased diversity and benefits for students.”
In fall 2013, multicultural students comprised 13.9 percent of the K-State student body; this year, they comprise 14.5 percent.
“The state of Kansas is 23.4 percent multicultural, and the nation as a whole is close to 40 percent,” Gordon said. “Most assuredly, these enrollment numbers give all of us a lot to celebrate, and everyone is to be commended for contributing to this result. Still, we have a lot of work to do.”
More international students are choosing K-State. Fall 2014’s international enrollment is a record 2,247, up 141 students from last year. Students come from more than 100 countries and six continents.
“This is a university record for international students not just in numbers, but also in percentage,” said Marcelo Sabatés, associate provost for international programs. “K-State’s student body is now 9.1 percent international students, which gives our university an essential component to make our students globally competent.”
Intentional and targeted services and philanthropy are key factors in K-State’s enrollment success, Bosco said. All have helped increase the university’s freshmen to sophomore retention rate to 83.27 percent. In fall 2012, the retention rate was 80 percent.
“Even during tough times, our teaching faculty, academic advisers and student life professionals do an extraordinary job in and out of the classrooms to help K-State students succeed,” Bosco said. “Also making a difference are our first-year programs like K-State First, now in its fifth year, Project IMPACT and more tutoring services for our students. Increased donor interest in supporting four-year scholarships is helping even more students afford college.”
K-State’s continued growth in enrollment and diversity comes on the heels of a record-setting year in philanthropic support for the university — more than $211 million in gifts and commitments in fiscal year 2014 — as well as construction of facilities to support growth in all university areas: academics, student life, research and more, said K-State President Kirk Schulz.
“K-State’s goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025 shows our commitment to success is striking a chord with students, their families, our alumni and our donors and supporters,” Schulz said. “With construction of a new business college, residence hall, welcome center, engineering college expansion and more underway or set to start, K-State is working to meet the needs of our students, faculty and state now and in the future.”