Even as enrollment in colleges and universities is declining nationally, the University of Kentucky welcomed its largest ever first-year class in Fall 2013 ― a class also marked by historic levels of students in terms of diversity and academic quality.
As importantly, data for 2013-14 school year underscores UK's commitment to student success as retention rates between 2011 and 2012 increased by more than 1 percent from 81.3 percent to 82.5 percent.
"The University of Kentucky is an institution with tremendous momentum, reflected this fall in record numbers of students and historic levels of academic quality and diversity," UK President Eli Capilouto said. "These students are coming to UK to study with outstanding faculty and staff on a campus undergoing an exciting transformation.
Highlights of UK's enrollment for fall 2013 include:
4,702 first-year students enrolled in the fall 2013 class, up from 4,647 in fall 2012, also a record.
UK broke 19,000 applications for the first time, with 19,810, also a record number.
Overall, UK has enrolled more than 29,000 students for the first time, with 29,410, up from 28,928 last year. Specifically, 21,523 students this fall are undergraduates, up from 20,878 last year. The rest are broken down between graduate and professional students and residents.
About 70 percent of those first-year students are Kentucky residents and 30 percent are from outside of Kentucky, roughly the same as last year.
UK enrolled 105 national Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic Finalists in its first-year class this fall, up from 71 last year, which placed UK among the Top 15 public institutions in the country.
Five hundred and fifty-five first-year African-American students are enrolled this fall ― also a record number ― up from a record 533 last year. African-American enrollment has increased steadily since 2008.
Hispanic student numbers in the first-year class have hit 200 for the first time this fall, up from 167 last year, and increasing each year since 2008.
- Finally, this first-year class has record numbers of students with perfect ACT/SAT composite scores ― nine in the first-year class and 24 on campus overall ― as well as record numbers of students scoring between 28 and 36 on their ACT and between 31 and 36.
To support the student experience at UK, President Capilouto has invested in the Honors Program, which increased from about 250 to some 400 students. Additionally, UK will expand the number of Living Learning Communities from 13 to 19 by next fall 2014.
At the graduate and professional levels, the number of degrees awarded has increased ― a reflection that the University at the graduate level is becoming more selective and is also graduating students more quickly, at numbers now above the national average.
"We are making progress because we are all intently focused on improvement," President Capilouto said. "But we have more progress to make. Too many students still leave our university -- or higher education in general -- before graduating. That is a loss for us. It's a loss for Kentucky. Honoring the promise of this university means we must continue to re-double our efforts and make continual progress in this important area as well. At UK, I know we are all committed to that goal."