09/27/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/27/2023 08:41
The news that President Dan Shipp is most excited about is the number of those freshmen: this year, with 919 of them, it topped 900 for the first time in five years.
"That shows several things: it shows that our approaches to recruitment are working, that students are seeing the value that a college education provides and starting to really take that to heart, and that we've made progress at reducing barriers to help them achieve their goals," he said.
Preliminary 20th day enrollment figures released by the Kansas Board of Regents this week also show thatinternational student numbers also continued to increase; this year's enrollment is at 344 international students from 42 countries - up from 265 international students last year.
Aaron Hurt, director of International Programs and Services, said that growth primarily was due to an increase in international students seeking graduate degrees at Pitt State. Popular programs include graduate programs in technology and business.
The most popular majors for all undergraduates: nursing, construction, business, and education.
Retention numbers at Pitt State remain a challenge, however, which caused an overall 2 percent decline in enrollment this year - something common among universities nationwide.
Pitt State's total enrollment this year is at 5,732; last year's enrollment in the fall was 5,858.
An aggressive campus-wide approach by Pitt State to turn that retention number around should begin to close the gap.
In the past year, the university stood up a one-stop, professional student advising center; increased the number of student scholarships; and hired Karl Stumo as vice president of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.
The university also implemented several student success initiatives including SparkWheel - a program aimed at reducing barriers for at-risk students.
Over the summer, the university announced the automatic awarding of Associate of Arts degrees to all students who earn them as they make progress toward their bachelor's degree.
"A significant part of our refocus on student success is providing the kinds of resources today's students want and need to be successful," Stumo said. "We also want to protect the investment they make in their education by giving them what they've earned and rewarding their progress as they go - this is tangible inspiration for continuing on the path to a valuable bachelor's degree."
The university also has renewed its focus on the student experience on campus. The university signed with a new dining services partner, expanded student health services, brought campus recreation into intercollegiate athletics, and hired a Dean of Students with sole focus on the student experience.
"We are working quickly to make Pitt State the best place to learn and live, and the best value in higher education," Stumo said. "We're not done yet, and we're making great strides with a tremendous team."