Source: Pat Bosco, 785-532-6237, bosco@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, 785-532-1543, ebarcomb@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011

UP AGAIN: K-STATE SETS NEW ENROLLMENT RECORD, SURPASSING LAST FALL'S RECORD YEAR

MANHATTAN -- The No. 1 college choice for Kansas high school graduates has set another enrollment record.

This fall Kansas State University has recorded its best enrollment yet, according to 20th-day figures announced by the Kansas Board of Regents. A record-breaking 23,863 students are attending K-State both on and off campus, up from 23,588 last year.

"K-State students get the best undergraduate experience possible," said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. "Prospective students and their parents recognize this when it comes time to choose a college, and our increasing numbers show it. Our success is a direct result of our faculty and student life staff who care about the success of our current students."

Increasing freshman-to-sophomore retention is a cornerstone of K-State's plan to become at top 50 public research university by 2025. The percentage of K-State freshmen that reenrolled at K-State for their sophomore year increased this year. Bosco said programs like K-State First -- providing new students with a transition to college-level learning -- made the difference.

"Our undergraduate experience wouldn't be the best without programs like K-State First and the leadership of Emily Lehning, assistant vice president for new student services, and Greg Eiselein, professor of English," Bosco said. "The first-year seminars and K-State Book Network, which connects students to the campus through a shared reading experience, can make all the difference for a student challenged with the transition to college."

Another aspect of the K-State First program that keeps freshmen engaged with K-State and on track to graduate are CAT Communities, which offer faculty mentoring and make lecture classes more accessible to first-year students. A group of 22 students enrolls in two general education courses and one connections course together during the fall semester. The courses are grouped around common interests, like the Business of Hospitality or the Law and Society.

More information about K-State First can be found at http://www.k-state.edu/first/.

The diversity of K-State students also increased this year, with 3,218 students describing themselves as Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or multiracial, a number that number has nearly doubled from a little more than 10 years ago.

Programs like Developing Scholars, McNair Scholars, Bridges to the Future and the suite of Project IMPACT initiatives -- as well as many other services and programs at K-State -- draw underrepresented students to K-State and keep them in here, Bosco said.

"We are fortunate at K-State to have people dedicated to making diversity a priority," Bosco said. "At the senior administrative level is our chief diversity officer, Associate Provost Myra Gordon, who has been leading the university effort for the last decade. In addition, people like the college diversity deans, Madai Rivera and Bryan Williams, admissions coordinators for Hispanic and black student recruitment, and Academic Assistance Center Director Judy Lynch are just a few of those people working to make sure everyone feels welcome to be a Wildcat. And our increasing numbers of diverse students shows that these efforts are paying off."

The increase in multicultural students is part of a larger goal to diversify all aspects of K-State, Gordon said.

"We are squarely on the path to become the university of choice for multicultural students in Kansas and beyond," Gordon said. "We're accomplishing this in part through greater university-wide collaboration, significantly increased funding for scholarships and support programs, establishing aggressive retention efforts in the colleges, and through the excellence and service of our K-State multicultural student organizations."

The number of students coming to K-State from outside the United States also climbed to more than 1,850 this fall, up from little more than 1,800 a year ago. The university also saw an increase in the number of distance education students -- more than 2,400. That number doesn't include on-campus students in Manhattan and Salina who take advantage of K-State's online courses.

"The efforts by Sue Maes, dean of the Division of Continuing Education, are apparent when you look at how many students are pursuing a K-State education off-campus," Bosco said. "Moreover, our numbers stand to increase with the 2+2 agreements between K-State and community colleges that now cover the entire state."

This fall there are also 835 students at K-State Salina, an increase of 43 from a year ago.