Kentucky State University had a slight decline in undergraduate enrollment this fall after implementing a tougher admission policy and ramping up efforts to collect outstanding tuition bills.
KSU enrolled 121 fewer undergraduates this fall for a 5 percent drop, according to documents provided by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Undergraduate numbers stayed relatively steady for other Kentucky universities. Morehead State University was the lone exception, growing by more than 1,000 students for 18 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment.
Graduate enrollment at KSU increased by 21 students for a 9 percent gain. Total enrollment dropped by about 4 percent to 2,751.
Over the last 10 years, KSU has seen a 19 percent growth in total enrollment.
President Mary Sias told The State Journal that the drop coincides with the school’s launch of the Academics With Attitude program, which places new entrance requirements on students who aren’t prepared for college course work.
Freshmen who need three or more remedial classes must come to campus the summer before school starts to catch up. If they decline, students may retake the ACT college entrance exam or enroll at a community college until they improve.
KSU admitted 104 students into the program this summer, and 101 of them passed with at least a C average. Ninety-eight enrolled for the fall term.
Sias says some struggling students who applied for fall admission at KSU didn’t enroll in the required summer classes. The program aims to improve retention and graduation rates, she said.
The university also began requiring students with outstanding balances of more than $3,600 to settle their debt or establish a payment plan before they can enroll in classes.
Sias says university officials were expecting the enrollment drop would be worse – closer to 7 percent. Students likely landed summer jobs and worked to put payment plans in place, she said.
Low-income students who are still struggling to keep up with tuition payments can participate in the Green2Gold work program, which finds students jobs on campus paying $7 to $10 an hour.
Sias says the money goes directly to paying their outstanding bills.