Upperclassmen at K-State may be noticing a little less sidewalk space to use on the way to classes this semester. For the third consecutive year, K-State has shattered its enrollment record with the official number of students enrolled resting at 24,581.
This means that 203 more students have joined the K-State community this fall, according to the enrollment numbers provided by K-State President Kirk Schulz. Overall, K-State faculty consider the number good news, a result of recruitment efforts from staff and students over the past year.
“Enrollment is a tremendous team effort, reflective of the quality of our faculty, students and staff,” Pat Bosco, vice president of student life, said. “The students work so hard to showcase what some people believe to be the best undergraduate experience in America. It’s gratifying because it’s such a team effort.”
In addition to an overall increase, K-State now boasts the highest number of diversity students it has ever held. 3,458 students currently identify as a black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or multiracial, according to a K-State press release.
“That’s a reflection of how students and families are treated day in and day out,” Bosco said in reference to the multicultural student increase. “There’s a genuine feeling of family that’s reflected in the K-State experience.”
According to the figures presented by Kirk Schulz in his State of the University Address on Friday, Sept. 20, the number of students who identify as black/African American has gone down, though diversity numbers as a whole are on the rise.
More students at K-State is a healthy challenge for the student government, according to Eli Schooley, senior in political science and student body president.
“We have more students than ever to reach out to and represent,” Schooley said. “We also have more students than ever before to take into account when making decisions. It’s good news that we have more students, and though it’s a challenge when accounting for and representing everyone, we look forward to it.“
Decision-making for the increase in students has been on the minds of both student and faculty committees. Bosco said that new facilities are in place to be constructed to handle K-State’s ever-increasing numbers.
“We just employed an architect to build a new residence hall in the approximate area of Goodnow and Marlatt, and add space to the Jardine Complex,” Bosco said.
In President Schulz’s State of the University Address, he mentioned how K-State would begin to physically accommodate this burst of student life.
“We have a sustainability task force, which is certainly going to weigh in on these things,” Schulz said. “As we build new buildings, we want them to be energy efficient. We want them to be pleasing and look good and be effective for what our faculty and staff say they need so they can teach effectively.”
Effectiveness is also what Schooley said he strives for in serving the increasing student body. Over the course of the fall 2013 semester, the SGA has been working towards a stronger wireless signal for students to connect to, as well as a mobile app that allows students to access online tools such as iSIS and K-State Online. Schooley said the amount of students growing could pose a burden on those plans.
“More people accessing any sort of technology can be an issue, but it’s inexcusable for us to have any problems accessing schedules or grades or anything like that on a Division I school campus like ourselves,” Schooley said. “More people using our technology will be a challenge that we will take in stride.”
More students attending K-State means more tuition and privilege fee revenue per student. Schooley said that, should the amount of students keep rising, the hot-button issue of tuition increases may be solved.
“The way we make our decisions won’t change, as far as funding allocations,” Schooley said. “In my perfect world situation, we could reach a point where tuition won’t increase, but we’ll have to see how likely that is in the future.”
For now, K-State remains a bustling entity in Manhattan, the number one choice for Kansas high school seniors in higher education and one of the best colleges for student life, according to the Princeton Review. Bosco said the progress will only go on.
“We will continue to grow strategically,” Bosco said.