KU Class of 2017 sets records for academics, diversity

Fri, 09/27/2013

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Jack Martin
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LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas Class of 2017 set records for academic talent and diversity, according to enrollment figures announced today.

There were exactly 4,000 students in the freshman class, up 6.1 percent from last year’s figure of 3,771, marking the second consecutive year the freshman class has grown.

The average freshman ACT score was 25.3, up two-tenths of a point from last year’s average, which itself was a record and the highest of any public university in Kansas. More than one-fifth, 21.8 percent, are minority students, up from 21.3 percent last year.

“Students are recognizing the advantages of studying at a flagship research university and all the opportunities that come with being a Jayhawk. That so many top scholars are choosing KU is a testament to the high quality of our academic programs, as well as to our revitalized recruitment efforts,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

“The goal now will be to help our new Jayhawks be successful in their first year, so that they can stay on track to graduate on time,” she said.

Increasing the percentage of students who successfully earn their degrees is a priority of KU’s Bold Aspirations strategic plan. This year’s freshman class is the first to take the KU Core Curriculum, which can be fulfilled through both classes and experiences such as undergraduate research, study abroad and service learning. The size of the Honors Program was increased by 45 percent this year to accommodate the influx of student scholars, and first-year experiences have been created to help students make the transition to college.

Year-to-year overall enrollment declined by 155 students to 27,784 due to a decline in the number of students seeking master’s degrees. Undergraduate enrollment and doctoral enrollment both grew slightly.

“There is growing competition when it comes to master’s degree programs. We’re responding to that challenge by creating more flexible offerings and through entirely online programs such as the special education master’s degree launched earlier this month,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter.

Vitter also said the university is making changes to how graduate students at all levels are recruited, as well as working to increase the amount of funding that can be offered, particularly for doctoral students. Enhancing doctoral education is another priority of Bold Aspirations.

International enrollment at the graduate and undergraduate level increased to a record 2,431 students, with that growth largely attributable to new partnerships and exchange programs with universities and organizations around the world.

For freshmen entering college in fall 2014, the deadline to apply for renewable scholarships is Nov. 1 at admissions.ku.edu.



This past week, new Jayhawks moved in and started their first semester at KU. Madisen Pool, a freshman in computer engineering, captured one of his first sunrises on the Hill. With a fresh start, and a feeling of accomplishment for starting college, Pool thought this view was a great reminder to enjoy life. We asked Pool what his advice would be to his fellow new Jayhawks and he said, "make your time here at the university memorable. Have fun, do something you’ve always wanted to do, meet new people, and most importantly get the most out of your experience and shape your life the way you want it to be. Rock Chalk!" We couldn't agree more. Rock Chalk, Madisen! Show us your new experiences with the hashtag, #exploreKU.

KU student tricks monkey flower into growing protective ‘hair’ Thanks to a KU Undergraduate Research Award (see more at http://ugresearch.ku.edu/student/fund/ugra), Sukhindervir Sandhu, a KU junior in biochemistry, figured out which genetic button to push to get a monkey flower, or Mimulus guttatus, to grow protective trichomes, or plant hair. Sandhu was able to track it down to a gene called SKP-1. By silencing SKP-1, he discovered that gene regulates plant hair growth in monkey flowers.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times