K-State, in addition to winning championships on the athletic fields, celebrated its sesquicentennial by setting records in enrollment as well. This spring, 23,180 students are enrolled, an all-time record for the spring semester.
This spring’s record comes on the heels of several high-water marks set in the fall, including an overall enrollment record of 24,378. The university remains the No. 1 choice for Kansas high school seniors and consistently has the highest number of enrolled undergraduates of any 4-year university in the state.
“Spring enrollment is a reflection of how the previous semester went for students, especially freshmen, and we’re delighted by the results,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, in a university press release.
One thing that faculty and administrators are pointing to as a source of accomplishment is the strides that have been made with international and multicultural students.
“We’re really excited to see increasing numbers of international students at K-State,” said Sara Thurston-Gonzalez, director of International Student and Scholar Services. “We were really happy to see so many run for student government positions and get elected. It is great to see them more integrated.”
Gonzalez said that she was encouraged by seeing U.S. students taking interest in the international students on campus.
“The culture and experience our international students bring to K-State prepares our U.S. students to live in a global society,” Gonzalez said.
China is the top country represented among 2,090 international students enrolled at K-State this spring, with students from various nations in the Middle East, Central and East Asia all highly represented among the student body.
K-State is working hard to foster American diversity on campus as well. Bosco listed the Developing Scholars Program, PILOTS Program, Multicultural Academic Program Success and the McNair Scholars program among ways the university has demonstrated a commitment to the success of its students regardless of culture.
At a school where one in seven students identifies as multicultural, the importance of these initiatives is evident. Of the 3,187 multicultural students enrolled this spring, 1,201 students identify as Latino or Hispanic, 937 students identify as black, 342 identify as Asian, 96 identify as American Indian, 36 identify as Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 575 identify as multiracial and 325 identify as other ethnicities or cultures.
Bill Harlan, acting coordinator of Student Activities and Services, said that fostering a sense of belonging or welcome is something that various groups across K-State are trying to accomplish, not just for multicultural and international students, but for everyone.
Allocating funds to various groups on campus and putting on events like the “Week of Welcome,” are some ways to make students feel at home. Harlan added that a new focus has been put on transfer students during the spring semester.
“We’re getting a lot of new students coming in during the spring,” Harlan said. “And realizing that there are probably some freshmen who weren’t getting involved in the fall. We’re trying to give them another chance to fully submerge themselves into student life.”
Harlan said the next step is to really focus on keeping students engaged in campus life and culture.
Bosco has said that one of the points of emphasis in the K-State 2025 plan laid out by University President Kirk Schulz, is maintaining and enhancing the type of experience that students expect from K-State without pricing the typical student out of the school.
Harlan says the role of his office and of the SGA is much the same.
“Trying to find that good balance of providing the academics, the advising, the involvement opportunities, without needing more and more money, that is what we try to do,” he said. “The SGA is really trying to do that with some judicious use of the money, getting the most out of every dollar that they can.”