K-State enrollment down 3 percent; transfer student numbers up

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Preliminary enrollment numbers released by the Kansas Board of Regents Thursday show a 3 percent overall enrollment decrease at Kansas State University.

Total enrollment is 20,229 for the fall semester compared to 20,854 one year ago, a decline of over 600 students. It’s still better than the 4 percent dip seen last year during the early to middle stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those numbers include increases in transfer students, up 8 percent over a year ago. The K-State Salina campus, graduate student as well as new international freshmen and graduate student enrollment all saw modest gains. Online enrollment also ticked up slightly. New student enrollment dipped by 1 percent from last year.

In a release from K-State Thursday, university officials touted its student retention rate of 86 percent, tied for the highest of all Regents institutions, while K-State’s six-year graduation rate of 68.4 percent is best in the state and well above the 63.9 percent national average for four-year doctoral institutions.

“At K-State, our faculty and staff are committed to providing the direction and support necessary for students to succeed,” said Karen Goos, vice provost for enrollment management. “We have built a culture of care and have worked to ensure we prepare graduates of the university — they are not just an enrollment number.”

Goos also touted the number of student applications which have been showing more excitement and interest in K-State, but have yet to turn in a reversal of the actual enrollment numbers which have been falling each of the past five years.

“Efforts to streamline tuition and revamp our scholarship programs to address affordability are gaining traction,” Goos said. “Last year, we had record numbers of inquiries and applications, which is a positive trend in our long-term efforts to grow strategically.”

The decline in enrollment came as no particular surprise to administrators who planned for a slight decrease and say no budgetary impacts are expected for the current school year.

Data from the Regents’ Sept. 20 count day, shows mixed results, with overall enrollment down 1.7 percent at the state’s four-year schools, The University of Kansas and Wichita State both saw gains. KU’s enrollment was flat year over year, but the Medical Center saw a 2 percent increase, while Wichita State grew its enrollment by 3.5 percent.

Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State both saw 6 percent dips in enrollment.

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