TOPEKA, Kansas – Preliminary fall enrollment figures released today by the Kansas Board of Regents show an increase in enrollment at all six state universities, totaling 1,381 students (1.47%).
Wichita State University saw the largest increase (453 students; 3.11%), followed by Fort Hays State University (384 students; 2.86%). Only Washburn University, the state’s municipal university, reported a decrease among the four-year institutions (-196 students; -2.41%).
In the two-year sector, enrollment increased across the state’s technical colleges where an additional 407 students (6.32%) are enrolled this fall compared to the preliminary census day count in 2013.
Enrollment was down this year across the state’s 19 community colleges, where a decrease of 3,379 students (-4.34%) is reported.
“We are continuing to see this trend, where people have headed back to work instead of seeking out additional education and training at our state’s community colleges,” stated Dr. Andy Tompkins, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “It is completely expected that as the economy improves there is going to be a decrease in enrollment at our state’s community colleges, compared to the high enrollment numbers we saw during the last recession.”
All told, the 2014 fall semester system-wide enrollment total is 184,403 students as of census day at each institution, a preliminary headcount of students enrolled on the 20th day of class. The tradition of recording the number of enrolled students following the 20th day of class dates back to the 1960s, when system-wide enrollment totaled just 64,886 (see chart for 1965-2013 system and sector trends).
Recent decades have shifted enrollment patterns, however, and the number of students enrolled on a given day during the fall semester is no longer the indicator for total enrollment that it once was. Last year, academic year 2013-2014, the total system-wide enrollment is estimated to have been approximately 252,500. Based on current enrollment numbers, the Kansas Board of Regents projects Academic Year enrollment for 2014-2015 to remain relatively flat.
Wichita Public Schools also saw an increase in enrollment, with 161 new students being added over the past year, which is also the highest enrollment growth since 1975.