WKU Sees Changing Student Demographic

Oct 5, 2013

Credit Kevin Willis

Final numbers are expected to show a slight decrease in enrollment this semester at WKU.  Provost Gordon Emslie attributes the decrease to a drop in part-time students and fewer students enrolling in associate-degree programs.

"I think more students are choosing to enter baccalaureate degree fields or possibly they're going to KCTCS to start their college education there," says Emslie.  "We have eight joint-admissions agreements with community colleges in Kentucky and Tennessee, and we hope to welcome those students back as juniors in a couple of years."

Dr. Emslie says the freshmen class has the highest number ever of full-time students seeking four-year degrees.

"Because a larger fraction of the class are called cohort students, those students tend to be retained at a much higher level, so we're very confident that even with a slight reduction in number, the rate of graduation will be higher than it has been in the past," explains Emslie.

The school is seeing some other firsts. The fall class has the highest average ACT score, up a half-point from 2012.  More than 15% of WKU's total enrollment is made up of minority students, a new high for the university.  International enrollment is up 43% and will top 1,000 students for the first time.