Morehead State shows highest growth rate among state schools since last year

Kentucky's public college and university enrollment is largely flat this fall, and even enrollment at the state's fast-growing community colleges has leveled off.

Only Morehead State University showed marked growth this year over last, which is attributed by president Wayne Andrews to better connecting with the Eastern Kentucky school's service area and the high school students there.

The enrollment figures were released by Council on Postsecondary Education president Bob King at the CPE's Thursday meeting in Lexington.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College system had a total enrollment of 108,000 this fall, a gain of 1,336 students.

From 2009 to 2010, community and technical colleges statewide had grown by 6.1 percent, compared with the 1 percent growth this year.

The community college system has nonetheless shown extensive growth over the past decade. Ten years ago, the system had enrollment of 70,913.

University of Kentucky undergraduate enrollment was up from 19,988, to 20,163, but UK's graduate enrollment declined by 114 students, to 7,935. Overall, UK's campus enrollment increased by 61 students, to 28,989.

UK is still Kentucky's largest institution, with almost 6,000 students more than second-place University of Louisville and 7,000 more than third-place Western Kentucky University, counting both undergraduate and graduate students. (WKU is second in undergraduate enrollment.)

Eastern Kentucky University reported 264 fewer undergraduates than in fall 2010, coming in at 14,132. President Doug Whitlock said the upside in that number is that many more entering freshmen are not receiving remedial help, which he thinks will aid the school in retaining those students.

Whitlock also said that EKU is seeing a boomlet in the number of veterans who enroll. He said that EKU also saw an increase in the number of transfer students.

Kentucky State University in Frankfort enrolled 121 fewer undergraduates and also enrolled 100 fewer graduate students this fall.

President Mary Evans Sias told the CPE council the college required that students with extensive academic deficiencies participate in a summer program, retake the American College Test for a higher score or remedy deficiencies in community college before beginning class at KSU.

In addition, Sias said, students owing the school more than $3,600 had to establish a payment plan or agree to work off the debt before they were allowed to return to class.

Sias said that the school just received a $600,000 grant for an agriculture program, which she said "is going to help immensely" with recruitment. She said the school is also working to improve its graduate course offerings.