Our first mission as a flagship research university is to educate leaders who will go on to contribute to our state and society after graduation. It’s at the heart of everything we do as an institution, and is central to our Bold Aspirations strategic plan.
Thanks to you, we continue to make progress in this vital area, including in growing the number of students who choose to become Jayhawks, as this fall we saw enrollment rise for the first time since 2008’s record level.
One of the first priorities I set as chancellor was to revitalize undergraduate recruitment, and to create four-year renewable scholarships that would help attract the best students from Kansas and beyond to our university.
We’ve now had three straight years of growth in the number of new freshmen and in the diversity of the scholars we’re recruiting. Not only is our university becoming more ethnically and racially diverse, but our socioeconomic diversity is also growing, as more first generation and more Pell Grant-eligible freshmen entered KU this year than at any point in the last six years.
Academic readiness has also remained strong, with the incoming class’ average high school GPA and average ACT score both placing as the second highest in KU history. Ensuring we recruit students who have strong academic credentials is vital as we seek to increase the number of students who progress and earn their degrees, and as we prepare to implement new admission standards in 2016.
We’ve sought to replicate the successes in undergraduate recruitment in our graduate programs and are already starting to see results. Graduate student enrollment grew this year, and the number of new graduate students recruited to the Lawrence and Edwards campuses was 7 percent higher than last year. Meanwhile, new resources such as the Prospect system will help departments grow the size, quality, and diversity of their applicant pools.
And enrollment at the KU Medical Center also grew, which is vital to our ability to educate the doctors and health professionals Kansans need to live healthy, prosperous lives. We’ll seek to continue this growth through expansion of the School of Medicine, and through innovative programs like the School of Nursing’s partnership with community colleges to help registered nurses earn bachelor’s degrees.
Recruitment is a university-wide effort. Units such as Admissions, Graduate Studies, and Public Affairs can market the university to students around the state, nation, and world, as well as provide recruiting resources to schools and departments. But it is ultimately the strength of our academic programs, and the connections prospective students make with faculty members, that lead students to choose to join our academic community.
We are in the midst of recruiting the next class of Jayhawks, and for prospective undergraduates the deadline to apply for scholarships is November 1. If you know of a student who should be a Jayhawk, encourage him or her to apply. And if you’re asked to meet with a prospective student during a campus visit, know that the connection you make can help not only ensure that she or he will choose KU, but can also change the course of that student’s life.
There are remarkable opportunities available at the University of Kansas. With your help, we’ll ensure even more students benefit from them.