Education

UK’s first-year class has more Kentuckians and increased diversity. See the numbers.

See UK’s overflow rooms as university faces high student housing demands

As University of Kentucky student housing faces demands exceeding room availability, the university sought to convert common areas and RA rooms to incorporate more students.
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As University of Kentucky student housing faces demands exceeding room availability, the university sought to convert common areas and RA rooms to incorporate more students.

The University of Kentucky has more first-year students than ever before and higher numbers of students in some minority groups.

Nineteen percent of the record 5,396 first-year students are from underrepresented populations, according to the university. When the black population dropped by 50 students last fall, UK Provost David Blackwell said he was “very concerned.” There are 16 more African-Americans this year than the previous class, along with a record number of Hispanic students.

The university said it has 367 African-American students in its first-year class, along with 353 Hispanic students.

The jump in overall enrollment in the first-year class comes despite a 2.4 percent increase in tuition for in-state underclassmen. The tuition hike has not deterred in-state students, however. There are 3,422 Kentuckians in this year’s first-year class, which is the largest number the university has had since 2009.

“These numbers reflect the continued momentum of the University of Kentucky in recruiting outstanding students from Kentucky and, increasingly, the region and across the country,” said Britt Brockman, chair of the UK Board of Trustees. “Most importantly, the numbers reflect the unwavering commitment we have to meeting the needs of the Commonwealth — in the research we conduct, in the service we render in every county of the state, and in the education we provide that is preparing students to not only create a skilled workforce, but in creating a new and stronger economy for Kentucky.

UK is also seeing an increase in transfers, as the 1,055 transfer students this year represent the most the university has had in five years.

Because of the continued increase in enrollment, the university has had to get creative with living arrangements. UK converted multipurpose rooms in residence halls into overflow housing to accommodate the record-high freshman enrollment.

Enrollment increases may not be stopping anytime soon. The university said last December it hopes to accommodate 2,500 to 3,500 new students in a five-year span. The College of Engineering is among the growing specialties that has seen growth in recent years, as it has had a 90 percent increase in student enrollment in the past decade.

“We have outstanding enrollment and student and academic life professionals who tirelessly work to recruit students and to support and challenge them as they join this special community,” Capilouto said. “We put students first in everything that we do at the University of Kentucky. In doing so, we honor our mission and purpose as Kentucky’s university.”

The increase in enrollment is widely visible in the Lewis Honors College. There are 848 first-year students enrolled in the Honors College, compared to 604 last year, the university said.

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