WBJ story highlights how WSU and WSU Tech have defied the drop in enrollment

The latest fall enrollment numbers from the Kansas Board of Regents show that, as a whole, public universities and community colleges in the state are experiencing a continued decline in enrollment — reflecting a trend nationally that may indicate shifting attitudes toward higher education and career paths.

Across the six state universities, there was a 1.5% decrease in students enrolled between 2021 and 2022, the Kansas Board of Regents data shows, and a 1% decrease at community colleges. Technical colleges, meanwhile, saw a 6% increase — not far from WSU Tech’s 4% growth.

Contrasted against the other four-year colleges around the state, Wichita State University was the only institution to see a noticeable uptick in new students this fall.

“I think over time people have become dissatisfied with higher education because many people are leaving before they graduate with all kinds of debt, or coming out of school with a tremendous amount of debt,” said Rick Muma, WSU president. “The way we’ve been addressing this is this applied learning approach.”

From providing more need-based financial aid to helping increase the FASFA completion rate, WSU and WSU Tech administrators say another key to growing enrollment has been breaking down barriers for nontraditional and underrepresented college students.