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K-State Today

April 9, 2021

A Diversity Action Plan Update: Increasing recruitment efforts for students of color

Submitted by Charles Taber and Karen Goos

Dear K-State community,

Closing the gaps that exist in college enrollment for underserved students is a university priority. The Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) plan (2018) calls for us to take steps to further diversify our student body. The Action Plan for a More Inclusive K-State (2020) includes a key action step goal to increase recruitment efforts for students of color to support raising enrollment of underserved populations to meet or exceed state of Kansas demographics. The Kansas Board of Regents has made closing enrollment equity gaps a priority in their Building a Future (2020) strategic plan, which includes a focus on affordability, access, and success for all Kansas students. In all these plans, college access is not only a priority but a value — a value that is foundational to our role as a land-grant university.

Since the launch of the SEM plan, there has been a transformation of university recruitment and outreach efforts. We have new leadership in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions who are beginning to develop a more robust plan to increase our overall recruitment efforts, including increasing diversity. We also have a diversity action plan team working on identifying specific strategies for recruitment of students of color. 

There has been intentional work on specific initiatives to address all segments of the prospective student population, including students of color. Some of these targeted initiatives are listed below.

  • We are partnering with postsecondary access organizations such as KC Scholars, AVID programs, and Wichita Links to help provide opportunities and expand our outreach.
  • We are supporting matching scholarships specific to diverse populations, such as the Hispanic development fund and the KS Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority participation.
  • We increased our application fee waivers that are targeted to provide increased access to diverse populations.
  • We are providing test-optional admissions and scholarship pathways.
  • The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs is partnering with Recruitment and Admissions on recruitment events.
  • We are identifying barriers to student recruitment, including students of color, and developing specific communications and interventions/events to assist students with the application and matriculation process, including Bilingual College Nights, FAFSA Workshops, and Application Fairs.
  • Knowing that building a relationship is important to the overall recruitment process, we are proactively engaging in community events in communities with diverse populations.

There are early indications that we are beginning to turn around enrollment overall and particularly enrollment of multicultural students. As we look ahead to fall 2021 enrollment projections, the number of new freshmen and new transfer admitted students who identify as students of color is up 16% over last year and up 54% over the last five years. This includes increased admitted students in our Black (21%), Asian (18%) and Hispanic (13%) undergraduate populations over last year.

The SEM Leadership and Diversity Action teams will be working together over the next several months to further analyze our existing data and refine our specific recruitment goals and measures of success. While our work will be ongoing over the next several years to achieve our goal of a student body that meets or exceeds the state of Kansas demographics, we have taken important steps in increasing recruitment efforts that will lead to increased enrollment of students of color.

We encourage you to stay engaged with day-to-day recruitment and enrollment activities and monitor the university's progress. With all of us working together, we can make a difference in college access and closing historic enrollment equity gaps.

Sincerely, 

Charles Taber
Provost and Executive Vice President

Karen Goos
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

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