Fort Hays State becomes state’s No. 3 school in enrollment
FHSU jumps ahead of Wichita State in total enrollment
With an all-time high enrollment of 14,658, Fort Hays State University has become the third-largest university in Kansas, public and private.
The numbers announced by the Kansas Board of Regents Monday show FHSU increased by 448, or 3.15 percent, from the fall 2015 headcount of 14,210 on the 20th day of classes. The new record marks a 16th consecutive year of record enrollments.
“The official numbers are yet more proof of what I said almost two months ago,” FHSU President Mirta M. Martin said today. “What makes us unique, what makes us distinctive, is our concern for the welfare of our students.”
“We are here not just to attract students to Fort Hays State University. We are here to ensure they cross the stage at graduation with the knowledge and wisdom to obtain meaningful employment,” she continued. “Our distinctiveness at Fort Hays State lies in the strength of our resolve, in our values, and in our relationships with each other and with our students.
“That kind of commitment to each other, combined with the excellence of our programs and our dedication to our mission to educate the next generation of leaders, is what makes us the destination of choice for students, faculty and staff. That is why we continue to defy the state and national trends. Onward and upward,” she said.
The 20th day, set by the Regents as the official enrollment day to provide a standard basis of comparison from year to year, was Sept. 19 for Fort Hays State. Regents policy is to hold any announcement of enrollments until numbers are in and verified for all Regents institutions.
FHSU delivers college courses through three modalities — on campus, through the FHSU Virtual College and to students at partner universities globally, mostly in China.
This fall’s numbers reflect the reversal of a downward trend in enrollment at the university’s international partners. Enrollment at those schools totaled 3,252 this year, up 128 from 3,124, an increase of 4.10 percent.
“FHSU has positioned itself as the premiere forward-thinking, world-ready university in the Midwest,” said Dr. Joey Linn, vice president for student affairs. “Having 16 consecutive years of record enrollments speaks for itself,” he said. “We congratulate the faculty and staff at this great institution for truly making a difference in hundreds of students’ lives each and every year.”
This fall’s enrollment in the FHSU Virtual College, 6,694, was an increase of 371, or 5.87 percent, from last year’s 6,323. On-campus enrollment this year is 4,712.
“The diversity of our offerings has been a major factor for our success over the past 16 years,” said Dennis King, assistant vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
“When our international partners have been down, our on-campus and online (Virtual College) programs have grown. Other years, it may be the exact opposite, leading to our growth,” he said. “This year, our new freshmen, Virtual College graduate students and our international partners have all contributed to our growth.”
The freshman class for 2016 is 937, up 23 from last fall, and is the third largest in university history. Virtual College graduate students for the fall are at 2,200, up 225 from fall 2015.
FHSU surpassed Wichita State University as the No. 3 largest university in the state. WSU reported overall enrollment for WSU is 14,474, according to the university. It had its largest freshman class this year and is slighty down overall from last year (14,495).
The University of Kansas still is the state’s largest university. KU reported its freshman class increased for the fifth-consecutive year and overall enrollment is 28,401, an increase of 1.1-percent from the previous fall.
Kansas State University reported its overall enrollment at 23,779, a slight decline from last year’s mark of 24,146.
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