WKU Enrollment Up

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

State officials say the enrollments in public and private colleges are up 1.7 percent across Kentucky and are the largest in history.

For the last eight years Western Kentucky University has seen a near 27 percent increase and officials say this university is leading the way.

Western Kentucky University freshman Heather Smith said choosing WKU over other universities wasn't a hard decision to make.

"I couldn't stand the thought of going to a big school because I couldn't be like a thousand persons in the back", Smith said.

Lexington, Ky., native Byron Wilson says he liked the small classes at WKU.

"I heard the teachers get involved more with the students here so I decided to come up here", Wilson said.

These two students make up a growing number of students on WKU's campus.

"We have 18,685 students who have enrolled for the fall so we're very excited about that", said Dr. Luther Hughes, WKU's Associate Vice-President for Enrollment Management.

That number just seems to keep growing.

For the eighth year in a row WKU has seen an increase in their fall enrollment.

"It's the largest freshman class we have. We have a little over 100 additional first time students this year over previous times and again that's an all time record", Hughes said.

Dr. Hughes says this growing number has a lot to do with the low student to faculty ratio and small classes, Western's academic programs, and efforts from the school to have a diversified group of faculty and staff.

"I think all those things together, plus a caring, nurturing attitude on the faculty and staff's part plays an important role in this university being the university of choice for so many", Hughes said.

Along with WKU's total enrollment increasing, the number of first time, first year African American students at Western also increased by 35.5 percent.

Hughes says they have also seen an increase in their overall student population with students from Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, and Ohio.

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