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Student demographic changing, WKU provost says in report

The student demographic at WKU is changing.

The incoming class for fall 2013 has the highest average ACT score, largest number of full-time bachelors-degree-seeking students and has the highest predicted retention rate ever at WKU.

Fewer Kentucky high school graduates and recent record WKU graduating classes will result in a slight decrease in overall enrollment. The final total will be reported to the Council on Postsecondary Education on Oct. 25.

Provost Gordon Emslie told the Academic Affairs Committee of the WKU Board of Regents on Friday (Sept. 27) that there are many positives in the enrollment figures.

  • The average ACT score of the freshman class is 22.0, up from 21.5 in 2012. There is also a significant increase in the number of students eligible for scholarships because of high ACT scores of 30 and 31.
  • A larger percentage of the incoming class (85.4 percent) is seeking a bachelor’s degree, compared to 76 percent in 2012.
  • More than 15 percent of WKU’s total enrollment is comprised of students from under-represented minorities, a new high for the university. Under-represented minorities make up more than 22 percent of the freshman class.
  • International and non-resident enrollment is increasing, helping offset smaller high school graduating classes in Kentucky and ensuring a stable financial profile. International enrollment is up 43 percent and will top 1,000 students for the first time.
  • The number of first-time freshmen who were offered and accepted academic scholarships is up 110 percent to 625. Almost three-fourths of the increase reflects two new scholarship programs: The Spirit Makes the Master and Red Towel scholarships.
  • WKU offered more minority specific scholarships (122 percent) and had more accepted (187 percent).

“These trends reflect WKU’s vision as a Leading American University with International Reach,” Dr. Emslie said. “We are pleased that WKU, with its steadily improving rankings, continues to attract academically well-prepared students from Kentucky, from other states, and from around the globe. We continue to offer all these students an academic experience that is second to none.”

Contact: Bob Skipper, (270) 745-4295.

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