FHSU enrollment continues to climb

02/17/12 ks

HAYS, Kan. -- A report issued this week at the monthly meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents showed that Fort Hays State University is the fastest growing university in the state system.

The "Postsecondary Enrollments in Kansas" report listed unduplicated headcount for fiscal year 2011, which included the summer 2010 term, the fall 2010 semester, and the spring 2011 semester. The state fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. So, the report showed how many individual students attended each university within that 12-month period of time.

FHSU's enrollment during FY2011 was 14,707 students, up from 13,900 in FY2010 -- an increase of 5.8 percent. Only two other Regents universities showed enrollment growth from FY2010 to FY2011. Wichita State University grew to 18,860 from 18,529, an increase of 1.8 percent. Kansas State University grew to 26,648 from 26,585, an increase of 0.2 percent.

The other three Regents universities declined in enrollment from FY2010 to FY2011. Emporia State University fell to 7,771 from 8,062, a drop of 3.6percent. Pittsburg State University fell to 8,789 from 8,917, a drop of 1.4 percent. The University of Kansas fell to 32,636 from 33,175, a drop of 1.6 percent.

FHSU has been setting records for enrollment since the turn of the century, when enrollment was about 5,800. It ended the fall 2011 semester with a total enrollment of 13,062.

At a news conference today on the FHSU campus, President Edward H.Hammond announced that the official 20th-day enrollment for spring 2012 was 10,723, a 7.7-percent increase from the 20th-day 2011 spring enrollment of 9,955.

"This is the first time our enrollment has exceeded 10,000 on the20th day of a spring semester," he said. The 20th-day headcounts each spring and fall semester provide a snapshot for year-to-year comparisons.

The all-time record 20th-day enrollment for spring 2012 will grow by approximately 1,300 students when late-reporting enrollments are received from China, taking it over 12,000. Some partner universities in China start their spring semesters later than American universities, so FHSU's 20th-day numbers are a bit misleading in the spring.

"Enrollments increased in each of our three separate modalities, "Dr. Hammond said, explaining that FHSU tracks enrollments independently for the Hays campus, for the Virtual College and for the partnerships with universities in China.

On-campus enrollment grew by 232 students, to 4,305 from 4,073 in spring 2011, an increase of 5.7 percent. Virtual College enrollment grew by 399 students, to 4,572 from 4,173 students in spring 2011, an increase of 9.6 percent. Enrollment in the Chinese partnerships by the 20th day had grown by 137 students, to 1,846 from 1,709 on the 20th day in spring 2011, an increase of 8.0 percent.

"It is also important to note that we are educating increasing numbers of Kansans," President Hammond said. "We have 6,200 Kansans enrolled this spring, an increase of 242 students, or 4.1 percent, from 5,958 a year ago. In 2009, we had 5,494 Kansans enrolled in FHSU classes. So just in the past three years, the number of Kansans enrolled at FHSU has increased by 706 students, or 12.9 percent."

Hispanic enrollment has been an area of emphasis for the Board of Regents, and the president noted growth at FHSU from 234 in spring 2009 to 383 in spring 2010 to 459 in spring 2011 to an even 700 this spring. FHSU's Hispanic enrollment has nearly tripled in the past three years.

The university's growth has special significance because of the struggling economy.

"We identified growth as one of the components in our four-part budget strategy, along with implementation of efficiencies in our operations,an increase in tuition, and budget reductions within individual offices and academic departments," the president said. "It was imperative that we continue to grow and find new efficiencies so that we can hold down tuition increases and operational budget cuts. We are pleased to see that our enrollment continues to trend upward."

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