Dr. Patricia Mahon, FHSU registrar, announced today that total headcount enrollment at Fort Hays State University was 5,217 as of the 20th day of the spring 2000 semester. The Kansas Board of Regents uses the 20th day number as a basis of comparison for its six universities.
The 5,217 figure is 3.7 percent below the 20th day enrollment a year ago, which was the second highest in school history for a spring semester at 5,419.
"We strive for a steady growth in our enrollment from year to year, so it is important to note that the 20th day headcount number is no longer a very accurate gauge of enrollment at Fort Hays State University," President Edward H. Hammond commented.
Traditionally, nearly all college students enrolled at the beginning of a semester. But that has changed. The FHSU Virtual College offers many "asynchronous" courses, which are geared toward students whose jobs or family responsibilities make attendance in traditional classes difficult. These courses, offered through the Internet, videotape and other means, allow students to start at various times through the semester. The Virtual College also offers continuing education workshops that provide college credit for professionals.
Because of the impact of this "rolling" enrollment in the Virtual College, numbers continue to climb throughout a semester. In spring 1999, for example, the 20th day headcount of 5,419 was the second largest ever, but by the end of the semester, supplemental enrollment had pushed the count to 5,649, which was the largest final spring enrollment in the history of the university.
"This phenomenon of supplemental enrollment has not occurred by chance," President Hammond explained. "We have purposely created the asynchronous environment so that students can register for courses at times that fit their schedules. This is a strategic effort to provide flexibility so that citizens in western Kansas and beyond can have access to FHSU courses and degrees."
"We live in a changing world where most jobs require people to return for additional education every few years," the president continued. "It is a vital part of our mission to make a college education available to people whose circumstances do not allow them to travel to a university community."
Cindy Elliott, dean of the Virtual College, agreed. "Fort Hays State University's commitment to make higher education available to the people who need it by eliminating traditional barriers of time and place will tend to make the 20th day headcount enrollment numbers more and more outdated," she said.