Report: more total students, fewer full-time students


Total enrollment numbers for the university continue to climb while full-time student enrollment continues to decrease.

Announced during Friday’s Board of Regents meeting, the current total of enrolled WKU students is 21,124, a 76-student increase from fall 2011.

WKU currently enrolls 16,877 full-time students, a 66-student decrease from fall 2011.

Despite commending the effective retention efforts, president Gary Ransdell said he thinks the lower full-time status of students can be attributed to people getting back to work due to a better economy.

Brian Meredith, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, presented the figure to the Regents on Friday. Meredith noted the number of juniors and seniors enrolled in the university has increased, as did the number of dual-credit high school students enrolled.

Meredith said first-time freshmen have “maintained” from the previous year’s “sophomore bubble.”

“We are up overall in enrollment,” Meredith said. “That’s a pretty good place to be.”

Meredith said this year Enrollment Management had a strategy to combat losing full-time students. Meredith, along with the Bursar’s office, offices offering student financial aid, and other university groups, offered students in danger of being dropped small one-time payments to assist in paying off their university bills.

“We were sitting down with each of these students, and that is no small feat,” Meredith said. “The time and human resource commitment to that across divisions and recognizing the importance of a college education…have gotten us to a better place.”

Meredith said around 500 students were in danger of being dropped from the university this fall, but with the new strategy, 336 students were reinstated and are able to stay enrolled full-time.

“We’re very pleased with where we are: 21,124,” Meredith said. “We’ll continue to move forward and work on some of the issues of retention, specifically with the sophomore class.”

Ransdell complimented Meredith and Enrollment Management staff, particularly for the new retention strategy.

“That’s a remarkable effort that you were able to help individuals that had no way of paying,” Ransdell said. “That more than likely salvaged the educational efforts of those students and will allow them to return in the spring.”

Ransdell called the enrollment report he’d seen at that time “stable.”

“It gives us confidence,” he said. “We’re certainly not in decline, but we’re not in growth mode either. Not many universities are.”