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Kansas colleges, universities see overall enrollment decline

October 2, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Public colleges and universities in Kansas reported an overall decline in enrollment for the current fall semester, according to a report from the Kansas Board of Regents.

A report issued Monday showed enrollment at public higher education institutions dropped by more than 1,000 students, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported .

The annual enrollment report used a different counting method than the traditional head count used in the past. The new system, called full-time equivalency, counts credit hours and converts them with a formula that the average undergraduate takes 15 hours a semester and the average graduate student takes 12 hours.

The new formula is meant to better reflect the influence of part-time students at the schools. Two-thirds of students in the Board of Regents’ system are enrolled on a part-time basis.

Using just the six state universities, enrollment increased 0.1 percent, or 95 students, compared to the fall of 2017, according to the report.

Kansas State University and Emporia State University were both up 0.5 percent; Fort Hays State University increased 2 percent; and Wichita State University was up 1.5 percent. The regents said FTE enrollment dropped 3.9 percent at Pittsburg State University and 0.6 percent at the University of Kansas.

“These gains are remarkable given the challenges we face in higher education, such as the declining number of high school graduates, increased options for students and the difficulties students face in financing their education,” said Rick Muma, provost at Wichita State.

At Kansas State, the number of full-time equivalency students increased but the overall headcount dropped 574 students. However, Pat Bosco, Kansas State’s vice president for student life, said a 3 percent increase in the freshman class was a positive sign.

University of Kansas officials cited its traditional headcount, which showed an increase of 63 students on all its campuses. It also noted the increased academic skills of freshmen and growing interest in university programs offered in Overland Park, Leavenworth and Kansas City, Kansas.

“We are pleased to have grown our enrollment for the fifth straight year and to have welcomed the most talented freshmen in history,” said Douglas Girod, the university’s chancellor.

Washburn University in Topeka reported a full-time equivalency drop of 1.2 percent. The state’s 19 community colleges combined for a FTE enrollment drop of 1,112 students or 2.6 percent. The state’s technical colleges enrolled 289 more FTE students than one year ago, registering a 5.2 percent increase.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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