K-State enrollment numbers show increased retention rates, greater diversity

K-State Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University announces the most diverse student body and the most academically accomplished freshman class in K-State history. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

Kansas State University's fall 2015 enrollment numbers indicate the university is making strides toward becoming a Top 50 public research institution with increased retention rates, greater diversity among students and growth in engineering enrollment.

Total university enrollment for the fall 2015 semester is 24,146 students, compared with 24,766 in 2014, but the statistics also indicate advances in K-State 2025 goals and progress regarding the University Engineering Initiative Act.

"This is an incredible year in many ways," said Pat Bosco ‘71, '73, vice president for student life and dean of students. "We have the most diverse student body and the most academically accomplished freshman class in K-State history. The university has demonstrated a commitment to increase the success of our students, and because of that we are continuing to experience a steady increase in freshman-to-sophomore retention over the past several years."

Freshman-to-sophomore retention is 83.45 percent, a record for the university. The 2015 average ACT scores for first-time degree-seeking freshmen is 24.9, which is the highest average composite score of a freshman class in university history. 

"We have successfully weathered the transition from virtually an open admissions school to an institution that intentionally prioritizes student success," Bosco said. "Our faculty and staff take great pride in helping our students finish the freshman year, graduate and find a job in their major or continue their education in medicine, law or graduate school. That's K-State 2025 here and now."

In addition, domestic multicultural students account for 15 percent of the student population, also a university record and a steady increase from 14.5 percent in 2014 and 13.8 percent in 2013. The largest increase is among students who identify as Hispanic.

"Many people on campus work very hard to recruit multicultural students and build our brand as the university of choice, so it is not at all a surprise that Kansas State University has again achieved a record multicultural student enrollment," said Myra Gordon, associate provost for diversity. "The reputation we have built in diversity is our strongest recruiting tool."

The university also is seeing growth in the number of doctoral students, which is another K-State 2025 goal. For the fall 2015 semester, there are 1,120 students enrolled in a doctoral program, up from 1,073 students in 2014. 

Enrollments slightly increased in the colleges of Architecture, Planning and Design and Human Ecology, but the highest increase occurred in the College of Engineering, where fall 2015 enrollment is 3,666 undergraduate students, up from 3,503 undergraduate students a year ago. The college is rapidly approaching the targeted number of 3,750 students essential to meet the state of Kansas' requirements of the University Engineering Initiative Act by 2023.

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