Enrollment at Wichita State for fall semester 2017 is 15,081 students, an increase of 607 students, or 4.2 percent, over fall 2016. The new first-time freshman class of 1,436 students is the largest in school history for the second consecutive year.
The numbers are included in the official enrollment report to the Kansas Board of Regents, made by each of the state’s universities following the 20th day of classes.
Total student credit hours are 161,516 for fall 2017, an increase of 0.5 percent compared to fall 2016.
“Our efforts are bearing fruit in recruiting high school seniors, under-represented minorities, students from the I-35 corridor beyond Kansas and online learners,” said President John Bardo. “After we take some time to celebrate, our journey continues with an additional focus on improving retention and degree completion.
“We are seeing shifts in student credit hours / headcount ratios that reflect our location and the nature of a research university in an urban area,” Bardo said.
One enrollment success story is the College of Education, where Dean Shirley Lefever and her faculty listened to public school systems and created an online Teacher Apprentice Program to help education paraprofessionals earn their degrees while continuing to earn a living. More information about the program is available at wichita.edu/TAP.
WSU has experienced increases among students studying in online programs and working professionals seeking to further their skills. Two years ago, and driven by industry needs, the university created short online courses known as microcredentials or badges. These courses allow students to learn new skills in shorter chunks of time, making it more manageable for someone who is already busy with a full-time job and / or family. They earn credits for completion of each badge, and in some cases can stack badges toward completion of a certificate or degree. For more information about badge programs, go to wichita.edu/badges.
New local undergrads increased for the second year in a row, with gains made in students from both Sedgwick County and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Wichita State’s strategy to recruit undergraduate students in the I-35 corridor of Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri resulted in a 38 percent increase from students in those areas.
“We have made significant progress in recruiting and retaining students to Wichita State through the implementation of our strategic enrollment management plan approved last year,” said Rick Muma, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and Strategic Enrollment Management.
“We are encouraged,” Muma said, “about large increases in first-generation students and the positive effect that higher education can have on them, their families and the economic development of our region.
“Over the last year the university community has really come together advancing our mission to be an essential educational and economic driver for the region, and the outcomes of that plan are apparent in our enrollment numbers,” said Muma.
Story from Wichita State University
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