Spring enrollment drops at K-State for fifth consecutive year

With great energy, K-State fans in cheering on the mens basketball team against KU in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 29, 2018. The Jayhawks took the lead and the win over the Wildcats with a final score of 70-56. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Enrollment numbers at Kansas State continue to decline in the spring 2018 semester, according to data from the Office of the Registrar.

Across all K-State campuses, there are only 21,400 students who are currently enrolled, a drop of 648 students from spring 2017 semester. This is a 2.9 percent decline, making 2018 the fifth consecutive year of spring enrollment declines.

In terms of colleges, Veterinary Medicine and Architecture, Planning and Design are the only colleges whose enrollment increased, growing by one student and 24 students, respectively.

The College of Engineering’s numbers dropped by 74. The Tuition and Fees Strategy Committee approved a $15 per credit hour increase to engineering courses yesterday.

The College of Arts and Sciences had the largest drop, losing 174 students. Despite the drop, the college is struggling to finance scholarships. The College of Engineering faces similar problems.

“We have made commitments to students that are already here and students that have been admitted with Putnam scholarships that we will obviously take care of, but that has taken up almost all the scholarship money in the College of Engineering,” said April Mason, provost and senior vice president of K-State, during last week’s TFSC meeting. “It’s taken up more than all of the scholarship money in the College of Arts and Sciences. They’re running a deficit in their accounts because of commitments that they have made, and that we will stand by.”

Meanwhile, the University of Kansas had a decrease of only 87 students, or less than 1 percent.

The decrease at K-State follows five months after the university announced a 4.48 percent, or $12 million, budget callback for the 2018 fiscal year.

The largest decline in enrollment at K-State was found on the Manhattan campus (615 students). The only campus with an increase in enrollment was the Global Campus, which was boosted by 137 students.

Total enrollment plummeted by nearly 1,000 students last semester, as well.

The last time K-State saw an increase in spring enrollment was in 2014, although it was only a marginal jump of 50 students.

While enrollment numbers have continued to drop, so too has state funding. This puts more financial stress on a smaller number of students, Cindy Bontrager, vice president of administration and finance, said.

“What’s happened over the last few years is that the state funding has declined, and students are picking up that portion of their education through tuition,” Bontrager said. “So, the university is much more dependent on that tuition revenue, and that’s why we will be paying attention to what happens with our enrollment.”

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.