The number of Kansas residents enrolled at Kansas State University hit a 31-year low last fall, continuing a five-year downturn that may worsen despite efforts to reverse it, an analysis shows.
The Manhattan Mercury reported that its analysis of enrollment and population data shows similar drops in enrollment for non-resident and resident students since a 2014 peak of 24,766 total students at the university’s Manhattan, Olathe and Salina campuses.
The newspaper reported that the downturn in enrollment has had a more profound effect in student numbers at Kansas State since residents traditionally make up a larger portion of the student body compared to other land-grant universities. Its analysis of 32 years of enrollment data found Kansas students made up about 80% of the student body.
In the past decade, fewer Kansas high school students have pursued education at four-year institutions, choosing instead to look for cheaper alternatives like technical colleges. Demographic population data also shows that the pool of Kansas students is shrinking.
University leaders blame the downturn in overall enrollment to fewer transfer and international students and fewer Kansas students pursuing traditional higher education. More students, particularly in-state students, are also graduating on time.
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