Minority enrollment increase sets record
Efforts to recruit and retain more underrepresented students at KU are
paying off, according to the official fall semester 2003 enrollment report.
For the second consecutive year KU witnessed record-breaking recruitment
and retention of minority students. Figures show KU’s overall number
of students in four minority groups—African-American, Native American,
Hispanic and Asian — rose to 3,281, an increase of 316 students
over fall 2002, and the largest increase on record. Minority students
in KU’s first-time freshman class numbered 520, an increase of 70
students, or 15.6 percent.
In addition, retention of first-year minority students improved. Of the
minority students from KU’s 2002 freshman class, 81.7 percent returned
this fall, an increase of almost 2 percentage points over the previous
year and up sharply from 71.2 percent five years ago.
“This is about more than rising enrollments,” said Janet Murguia,
executive vice chancellor for university relations. “KU is committed
to attracting a richer, more diverse mix of students to our campuses.
We’re proud of the growing sense of community and record of student
success we’re building here.”
Officials in the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs say KU is expanding
its recruiting, making the campus more welcoming and bulking up several
strong academic mentorship programs.
“We’ve partnered with our admissions and scholarships office
to meet and greet around the state, in places like Sumner Academy in Kansas
City, Kan., and in Garden City and out-of-state cities like St. Louis,”
said Tony Daniels, associate director of multicultural affairs. “When
students do come on a campus visit, they already have met us. That’s
KU’s network of academic-based programs, leadership opportunities
and career counseling programs is raising the university’s profile.
In December, KU was selected to Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine’s
Publisher’s Picks of colleges and universities that enable Hispanic
students to succeed.
“I think the campus climate is just a lot more welcoming,”
said Claudia Mercado, associate director of admissions and scholarships.
“And it’s not just my office. There are tons of activities
and support services.”
They range from weekly brown-bag lunch discussions sponsored by KU’s
Multicultural Resource Center to federally funded programs such as the
Biosciences Initiative, which is preparing 25 minority undergraduates
for graduate school in biomedical sciences.
With revenue from recent tuition increases, the university in two years
has beefed up a number of student services, including two successful academic-based
support programs, using $300,000 generated by tuition revenue.
A year ago, KU’s HAWK Link, a student-of-color retention program,
was cited by Noel-Levitz, an operating division of Sallie Mae, as one
of the top three such mentoring programs in the nation.
The Multicultural Scholars Program, created by Renate Mai-Dalton, associate
professor of business, to offer comprehensive academic mentoring, this
fall was expanded from five academic units to eight. The programs—African-American
studies, architecture, business, education, human development and family
life, journalism, languages and humanities, and pharmacy—enroll
about 80 students.
“The students do very well in our small group settings with support
from faculty and peers who have similar academic interests,” Mai-Dalton
In 12 years, she said, the Multicultural Scholars Program achieved a remarkable
85 percent retention rate and a 77 percent graduation rate.
Last spring, the 50 students who were enrolled in its existing five programs
compiled an average 3.3 grade-point average.
Minority enrollment: 3,281 students
Increase over 2002: 316 (record)
retention rate: 81 percent
freshmen enrolled: 520
Increase over 2002: 70 students