Tougher admission standards are the main reason Kansas State University saw its first enrollment decline in nine years, school officials said in response to a Kansas Board of Regents report showing similar drops at most of the state’s public universities.
Only two state universities – Kansas and Fort Hays State – recorded increases in last week’s official census. Overall, enrollment at state universities fell by 1 percent to 94,280 students – 890 fewer than a year ago.
“We have successfully weathered the transition from virtually an open admissions school to an institution that intentionally prioritizes student success,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students at Kansas State.
While numbers at state schools lagged, enrollment at the state’s technical colleges surged by 6.3 percent, the Manhattan Mercury reported.
Manhattan Area Technical college led the way with 104 additional students, an increase of 13.6 percent.
Community college enrollment dropped 2.9 percent to 72,599 students.
The fall enrollment count at Kansas State had risen steadily each year since 2006, when the number fell by 40 students to 23,141. As of last week’s official count, enrollment at the university now stands at 24,766 students.
The University of Kansas saw its enrollment rise by 108 students to 28,091, while Fort Hays’ numbers rose 2.8 percent to 14,210 students.
Kansas State officials said Friday that the average 2015 ACT scores for first-time degree-seeking freshman is 24.9, which is the highest average composite score of a freshman class in school history.
Domestic multicultural students account for 15 percent of the student population, which also is a university record and an increase from 14.5 percent in 2014. The largest increase is among students who identify as Hispanic.