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UK SETS RECORDS IN ENROLLMENT

By Ralph Derickson

 

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"We couldn't be happier about the student demand for our academic services. It reflects very highly on the first-class quality we know this university already has attained."

--Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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Sept. 11, 2001 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky today reported record enrollment of 32,549 students for the fall semester 2001, an increase of 4.8 percent over the previous year.

The all-time high enrollment for the undergraduate and professional colleges, UK Chandler Medical Center colleges and Lexington Community College includes increases in virtually all academic areas and a 10.2 percent surge in the Graduate School.

"We couldn't be happier about the student demand for our academic services. It reflects very highly on the first-class quality we know this university already has attained," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.

The Graduate School enrolled 5,572 students, up 518 over the previous year. Acting Provost Michael Nietzel attributed much of the jump in Graduate School enrollments to two sources -- a program dubbed GIFT (Graduate Incentive Free Tuition), which gave any college graduate in Kentucky the opportunity to sample a free three-hour graduate school course in the spring 2001 semester and the Kentucky Graduates Scholarship program in which outstanding students from outside Kentucky were given special tuition scholarships.

"GIFT turned out to be extremely successful," Nietzel said. He added that 23 percent of those students who took the free course last spring returned to enroll in for additional graduate study this fall.

The quality and the quantity of the fall 2001 freshman class showed gains with 3,064 students enrolled compared with 2,928 the previous year, an increase of about 4.6 percent and another UK enrollment record. The class includes 125 Governor's Scholars, 132 high school class valedictorians, 49 National Merit Scholars and two National Achievement Scholars.

The middle 50 percent of the ACT scores of the entering freshmen shows a composite of 22-27, above the national averages of 18-24 and equal to UK benchmarks Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota.

Also in the freshman class are 339 students who have advanced placement (AP) credit, a predictor for a student's academic success at the college level. AP courses are high school classes in which test scores can be precisely compared across the nation.

Nietzel noted the number and percentage of African-American students enrolled in the Graduate School also climbed from 242 in 2000 to 305 in 2001. "We are very pleased with this growth in the enrollment of African-American students." Nietzel said.

The total number of African-American students in the university increased from 1,318 in 2000 to 1,332 this fall.

Lexington Community College continues its growth. LCC is up another 8 percent in enrollment with 7,791 students. The Winchester Road branch has doubled in enrollment this year and the new South campus is up 19 percent with more than 1,400 students.

The preliminary figures show that increased enrollment is prevalent in virtually every academic area. The numbers may change modestly as students are added or withdraw in the next few weeks, but based on previous years' enrollments, trends are expected to remain close to the preliminary figures.

Final numbers will be reported to the Council on Postsecondary Education Nov. 1.

Areas with notable enrollment increases include arts and sciences, business and economics, communications and information studies, education, human environmental sciences and nursing.

In other examples of enrollment growth, the UK College of Pharmacy has enrolled the largest first-year class in its history. Among the graduate and professional academic areas reporting substantial growth are engineering, medicine and business and economics. The number of female students in the freshman class outpaced the number of male students (53 to 47 percent).


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