Student Enrollment Hits New Milestones at Wichita State

For a campus that is buzzing  with exciting news, one might be worried our supporters, alumni, students, faculty and staff will become dull to even the more eye-catching headlines. To illustrate, here are several announcements Wichita State University has had since just August 2023:

  • Our National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) secured a $100 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to digitize aging platforms and provide fresh engineering solutions, all while delivering applied learning experiences for Shockers.
  • Wichita State Athletics announced that our ten-time National Intercollegiate Championship Women’s Bowling Team will transition to be our 16th NCAA Division I team in Fall 2024.
  • At the start of the semester, Wichita State Dining announced 13 new Starship Technologies Food Delivery Robots would be delivering Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Freddy’s and more all over our 330-acre main campus.
  • FirePoint, an Innovation Campus partner, just announced the distribution of $40,000 to two Wichita State student teams for their development of future-ready software systems.
  • The City Council of Wichita recently greenlit a plan to provide high-value land in downtown Wichita to move forward with the brand new $300 million Wichita Biomedical Center, which brings together health professions programs from Wichita State, University of Kansas and WSU Tech.
  • A generous $1.5 million gift from longtime Shockers will provide a jumpstart to the expansion and renovation of Shocker Softball’s Wilkins Stadium.
  • Arguably the most delicious news of the fall has been the recent opening of Two Hands, a Korean corn dog joint, in Braeburn Square campus.

All big headlines, right? What other news could we possibly have that might take it up a notch? Well, last week Wichita State announced the biggest, boldest headline yet – our fall 2023 enrollment being the largest ever in the university’s 128-year history. The enrollment growth – a 3.7 percent increase from last year – bucks the trend of a nationwide downtrend in college attendance. We know families and students are thinking about the return on investment in higher education, and choosing carefully what path is best for them. We see our enrollment growth as a demonstrative symbol that we’re delivering on the outcomes that matter the most for students and families, in the form of strong academics mixed with real-world applied learning experiences all in the backdrop of the largest city in Kansas, teeming with student life opportunities and community activities.

Overall Enrollment Trends - Wichita State University

More specifically, here are a few headlines about our new incoming class of Shockers:

  • Fall 2021, Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 represent the three largest freshmen classes in the university’s history.
  • Wichita State has now been the No. 1 transfer destination in the state of Kansas for 12 years in a row.
  • There was an 11 percent increase in new business majors, who will now get to enjoy our new $65 million home of the Barton School of Business - Woolsey Hall.
  • More local students – hailing from our own Sedgwick County – are finding a path to their hometown university, as reflected in a 6.7 percent increase.
  • While more Kansans are becoming Shockers, it’s just as notable that we had a nearly 10 percent increase in out-of-state students attending college at Wichita State, with notable gains in students from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.
  • The university is working to find more ways to support students both financially - evident with more than 81 percent of new freshmen receiving scholarships – and academically through the building of our new $17 million Shocker Success Center

While I’ve been around the university as a student and professional for about 25 years now and am admittedly biased, it’s important to celebrate this moment as perhaps the greatest era in Wichita State’s history. For those who are in high school or considering transferring to Wichita State, we’re not done just yet and have so much more coming to help you round out your collegiate experience. We’ve just revamped our scholarship packages for high school seniors, we’ll soon be launching a new virtual campus tour,  and we’re getting ready to host the state’s largest annual scholarship competition in November to award three $64,000 scholarships (and about 80 smaller additional scholarships to competing students).

We are proud to be a university on the move and landing as a primary destination for students who are choosing the right collegiate fit to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals. If you want to join us on campus soon to see more of what Shocker Nation is all about, check out our upcoming Black & Yellow Day on Friday, Oct. 20. Until then, stay tuned to Wichita State as I’m sure we’ve got even more exciting news to come.

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