KU grows enrollment for fourth straight year

LAWRENCE — Enrollment at the University of Kansas has grown for the fourth straight year, according to data released today by the Kansas Board of Regents.

KU has 28,447 students enrolled across all campuses, an increase of 46 students from last year’s September total. It is KU’s highest enrollment since 2011.

Additionally, this year’s freshman class has the highest average high school GPA and the second-highest average ACT score of any class in KU history. The freshman class also has the most minority students of any class in KU history.

KU also set records for retention and graduation this year. The one-year retention rate for the fall 2016 cohort is 83 percent – the highest on record. Moreover, 47 percent of the 2013 cohort has graduated in four years, while 62 percent of the 2012 cohort has graduated in five years – both all-time highs.


2017 Overall Enrollment
- Fourth straight year of growth
- Largest student body since 2011
- Most diverse student body in history

2017 Freshman Class
- Highest GPA in history
Second highest ACT score in history
- Most minority students in history

View the full enrollment summary.

"We’re pleased to have grown our enrollment for the fourth straight year and to have welcomed the most academically prepared and diverse freshman class in KU history,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “To grow as we have, and to do so with such talented freshmen, is a clear sign that high-achieving students want to attend a top research university that offers nationally ranked programs and transformative opportunities.”

Beyond the freshman class, minority students now comprise an all-time high 20.6 percent of the student population, while out-of-state students comprise a record-setting 38.4 percent of enrolled students.

KU Medical Center’s enrollment grew 1.3 percent to an all-time high of 3,556. KU continues to pursue initiatives to educate more health care professionals for Kansas, which includes expanding the medical center in Wichita and Salina in 2011, as well as opening the new Health Education Building in Kansas City earlier this year.

This year KU saw a 6.1 percent increase in student credit hours through programs administered by the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, in Leavenworth and online. The number of new and continuing KU students taking at least one Edwards Campus class increased by 5.6 percent during the same period. In recent years, the Edwards Campus has expanded its program offerings to increasingly meet local workforce needs, especially in fields related to the sciences, technology, engineering and business.

The enrollment increase and record-setting retention, graduation, diversity and out-of-state student rates are the results of purposeful efforts by KU to identify, recruit, retain and graduate best-fit students. For example:

  • In 2011, KU revamped financial aid with new four-year renewable scholarships.
  • In 2013, KU implemented the Core Curriculum to include collaborative, hands-on learning experiences such as undergraduate research, internships and study abroad. These experiences enable students to develop skills and competencies that are part of KU’s educational values and also valued by employers, graduate schools and professional schools.
  • Last year, KU implemented new admissions standards for incoming students, which has further differentiated KU in the minds of high-achieving students and their families.
  • In recent years, KU evolved its recruitment focus from a regional model to a national/international model and now has recruiters in cities across the country, as well as partnerships with recruiters across the world.
  • KU continues to redesign courses, use predictive analytics, strengthen academic advising and streamline processes for students to complete their coursework and graduate.

“The University of Kansas has made strategic decisions to elevate and enhance the position and profile of the university in a way that attracts more high-achieving students and diversifies our community,” said Neeli Bendapudi, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Today’s data confirm that, from the way we identify and recruit students to the way we support them once they arrive, we are continuing to make good progress in these areas.”

Apply by Nov. 1

High school seniors who want to become Jayhawks in 2018 are encouraged to apply by Nov. 1 to be considered for renewable scholarships.

Fri, 09/29/2017


Joe Monaco

Media Contacts

Joe Monaco

KU Office of Public Affairs