Total spring '04 enrollment at FHSU edges up against 8,000 mark

Final headcount of 7,932 tops total spring '03 enrollment by 1,445

6/3/04 kb

HAYS, KS -- Enrollments at Fort Hays State University are setting so many records it can make your head swim trying to keep track. Now another.

After setting an all-time 20th-day spring enrollment of 7,158 back in February, the university's total enrollment for spring 2004, counting supplemental, was a huge 7,932, a 22.3-percent increase over spring 2003, which itself set all-time records for both 20th-day and total enrollments for a spring semester at, respectively, headcounts of 5,854 and 6,487.

Spring '04's final number is also the second-highest enrollment ever, spring or fall, exceeded only by the 8,037 final headcount -- 20th-day plus supplemental -- of the fall 2003 semester.

FHSU President Edward H. Hammond, announcing the final spring enrollment numbers today, again cited the university's "Affordable Success" strategy as the primary reason for another in a string of semesters with record enrollment.

"At Fort Hays State we offer a quality education at an affordable cost," said Hammond. "A very high quality faculty committed to their profession is the foundation of our success. In a time of economic uncertainty and change, students need that kind of educational opportunity more than ever."

"We have outstanding teachers at Fort Hays State," said Hammond, "and our goal has always been to keep access to them affordable. The enrollment numbers tell us that we are succeeding."

The 20th day of classes is the first official enrollment day observed by the Kansas Board of Regents for each of its six universities because it affords a standard basis for comparison, but President Hammond has consistently pointed out in recent years that the changing face of higher education makes the official 20th-day headcount numbers less and less relevant at FHSU, which is a leader in distance education.

For the semester just ended, the final count shows a supplemental enrollment of 774, which was an increase of 141, also 22.3 percent, from spring 2003, even though some of the enrollments from FHSU's partnerships with three universities in China arrived earlier this year, allowing them to be counted in the 20th-day numbers.

FHSU's Virtual College delivers courses from the university's College of Business and Leadership, College of Education and Technology, College of Health and Life Sciences, and College of Arts and Sciences over the Internet, on videotape and by other means throughout Kansas and around the world, not only to its affiliated universities in China but also to U.S. service men and women and many others.

For spring '04, the counts break down to an on-campus headcount of 4,408 and a Virtual College headcount of 3,524. The official 20th-day headcount for the Virtual College was 2,803. Of the total supplemental enrollment of 774, on and off campus, 721 was in the Virtual College.

The 20th-day number for the Virtual College was a 69.5-percent increase over spring 2003, when 20th-day enrollment was 1,654.

The Virtual College headcount exceeded on-campus headcount in two areas, freshmen, with 1,424 taking 9,121 credit hours of classes, compared to 895 taking 11,463 credit hours on campus, and graduate students, with 1,137 in the Virtual College versus 570 on campus.

The Graduate School total, 20th-day plus a supplemental of 192, was 1,707, which is an increase of 12.1 percent over spring 2003's 1,587. That was the same percentage increase in the Graduate School's 20th-day enrollment from spring 2003 to spring 2004, from 1,352 to 1,515.

Joey Linn, FHSU registrar and assistant vice president for student affairs, said that, in addition to the university's program of "Affordable Success," a lot of credit for the enrollment increases goes to the faculty and to people in offices and departments across campus.

"Our faculty help with recruiting and they work with students in and out of the classroom," he said. "And a lot of people in every area of the university, faculty and staff, work hard to make prospective students aware of the wonderful educational opportunities available at the university."

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