K-State sets record graduation rates, but enrollment declines
Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
MANHATTAN — With the largest graduating classes in its history the past four years, Kansas State University has continued to improve graduation and retention rates.
This year's incoming freshman class has the second highest composite ACT score in history of 24.9, nearly equaling last year's record 25.0. Fall-to-fall retention rates for freshmen to sophomores nearly matched historical highs at 84 percent. The university also steadily increased the number of doctorates awarded, a key metric for the K-State 2025 strategic plan.
K-State's six-year graduation rate has increased from 58 to 63 percent in the past five years, which may reflect four years of undergraduate qualified admissions. Since the higher admissions standards set by the state went into effect, K-State has seen an overall decline in applications of nearly 20 percent. This affected overall enrollment, which declined by 984 students this year. The university is the No. 1 choice of Kansas high school graduates and is expanding enrollment efforts geographically to counter declining numbers of high school graduates.
"We provide an exceptional value to our students," said Pat Bosco, K-State vice president for student life and dean of students. "We do this is by keeping students, helping them graduate on time and find good jobs."
The value of a K-State degree has never been higher. Money magazine recently rated K-State as the top value in the state, and the Princeton Review regularly rates the student experience at the university as one of the best in the nation. The university continues to excel in placement rates, with 94 percent of recent graduates employed or pursuing advanced degrees.
K-State has ramped up out-of-state recruiting efforts and need-based scholarships in response to the evolving higher education landscape in the state. Incoming graduate students increased this year, despite fewer international students.
"The reality is there are fewer students from Kansas attending any college and far fewer international students studying in the United States," Bosco said. "It's a perfect demographic storm that has been strengthened by some neighboring states offering in-state tuition. Our market share within the state has been steady, but the pool of Kansas high school students pursing any secondary education continues to shrink."
This year K-State has 1,820 international students representing 106 countries, including 340 new students. The United States has seen a recent decline in international student numbers for a variety of reasons over the past years, including a strong dollar, energy prices and additional concerns related to the ability to acquire visas. This year's incoming class reflects historical averages for K-State.