K-State spring enrollment drops for fourth straight year

(Graphic by Audrey Hockersmith)

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas State had a decrease in students enrolled in the spring semester compared to the spring before.

According to K-State’s 20th-day enrollment statistics from the Office of the Registrar’s website, 22,048 students are enrolled at the university, which is a decrease of 587 students from the 22,635 students who were enrolled in spring 2016. This includes the Manhattan, Polytechnic, Olathe and Global campuses.

K-State has faced state higher education budget cuts and internal callbacks, in part due to the decline in enrollment numbers. At least one college — Engineering — increased student fees as a direct response to the budget cuts and internal callbacks.

At the Feb. 7 Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee meeting, Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, said K-State has had relatively low spring enrollment numbers and is suffering due to budget cuts.

“Open record: we’re at that (financial breaking) point,” Bosco said at the meeting. “We’re hurting with spring enrollments.”

K-State budgeted for $240 million in tuition revenue for fiscal year 2017, which is more than half of the university’s general use allocations. It would be more than the $230 million collected in tuition in fiscal year 2016.

By the numbers

Eighty two new freshmen enrolled at the Manhattan campus this spring, down from the 99 new freshmen of spring 2016. There were 297 new transfer students in the spring 2017 enrollment, a decrease from 333 in spring 2016.

The following colleges saw a decrease in students from spring 2017 and 2016: Agriculture, decrease of 41; Architecture, Planning and Design, decrease of four; Arts and Sciences, decrease of 347; Human Ecology, decrease of 274; Polytechnic, decrease of 47; Veterinary Medicine, decrease of 16.

The College of Business Administration saw an increase of 16 students, Education increased by seven students and Engineering increased by 106 students from spring 2016.

K-State also had a decrease in enrollment during the fall semester. Enrollment in the fall has not seen growth since the jump from 24,581 in 2013 to 24,766 in 2014.

As previously reported by the Collegian, there were 23,779 students enrolled at the university in fall 2016. On average, K-State has fewer students enrolled in spring semesters than the fall.

Cindy Bontrager, vice president for administration and finance, said she was not aware the spring 2017 enrollment numbers were released and could not yet comment.

“I have not seen them yet,” Bontrager said. “Are you serious? You already have them? Did the Board (of Regents) do a release?”

Because she had not yet seen the numbers and the 20th-day enrollment statistics are a K-State internal document, Bontrager referred all questions to K-State’s Division of Communications and Marketing.

“I’m not sure when we can release information, so I probably need to pass,” Bontrager said.

The Collegian called Bontrager after 5 p.m. Monday. The 20th-day enrollment statistics were not seen posted on K-State’s website prior to the weekend. The Spring Census Day for the Office of the Registrar was Feb. 13.

Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!