I am writing to share good news regarding our annual 20th day enrollment data — and to thank you for making this news possible.
Earlier today, we announced that the University of Kansas has achieved all-time highs in key metrics related to student recruitment and success. In particular, we set records for our one-year retention rate, four- and six-year graduation rates and entering freshman class GPA, while creating the most diverse student body in university history. Additionally, we have held the line on enrollment this year — we are down just 0.3 percent — as well as for the past seven years despite the national trend of decreasing college enrollments.
This is good news, and we can be proud of our progress related to these institutional priorities. So today, I want to thank you for everything you do to bring talented students to KU and help them succeed.
It’s worth recalling that this progress is no accident. Rather, this progress is the result of your hard work and the strategic choices we’ve made to enhance the way we identify and attract new Jayhawks. Since 2011, we have enhanced our recruitment and enrollment efforts with new renewable scholarships, new admissions standards and a new national/international recruitment model. We’ve made KU more attractive to top students by revamping our curriculum, enhancing our academic offerings and providing experiential learning opportunities. And we’ve worked to support current students and empower them to address challenges both inside and outside the classroom.
I also want to highlight the vital role of private giving in recruiting and retaining top scholars, as well as our alumni, who are the best Jayhawk ambassadors in the world. To our donors and alumni – thank you.
While this year’s record-setting metrics are worthy of celebration, we must not get complacent given the long-term enrollment challenges facing higher education. We must continue to find new ways to recruit and retain top scholars, and we must recognize the reality that it will be harder than ever to do this. Looking ahead, we will have an exciting opportunity to enhance student recruitment and retention through our university strategic planning process, which will begin later this semester. We look forward to this process as a way to strengthen our work as a leading research institution, an engine of economic growth for Kansas and a proud member of the Association of American Universities.
Again, thank you for your role in recruiting new Jayhawks and ensuring they can earn their degree from the University of Kansas.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas