PITTSBURG, Kans. — For the second year in a row, Pittsburg State University has seen an increase in freshman enrollment, which is up 4.9 percent, and transfer student enrollment, which is up 2.4 percent. 

International undergraduate and graduate student enrollment also is up, rebounding from the pandemic with a total of 265 international students. 

But there is some work to do, university leadership said Thursday after the 20th Day fall census enrollment figures were announced by the Kansas Board of Regents. 

“Overall, our enrollment is down 2.6 percent, and the decline is in returning students,” said Howard Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are taking an aggressive campus-wide approach to learn what students experience as barriers to graduating, and already have begun to take steps to eliminate or reduce those barriers.” 

In recent weeks, the university has begun a move toward a one-stop, professional advising center, is exploring building scholarship packages to last for four years, and is eying the possibility of implementing an associate’s degree as an option for students who must pause their education midway through. 

“Ultimately, we want to see students complete what they’ve started, make it to the finish line, and earn their degree, because we know how important it is to their future, their earning potential, and the workforce,” Smith said. 

The data is similar across the state’s public higher education system, according to KBOR’s figures. Overall, the system has experienced a 1 percent decline in enrollment compared to last year’s 20th Day numbers. 

Across the six state universities, there was a decrease of 1,333 students (-1.5 percent). Community colleges experienced a decrease of 630 students (-1.0 percent), while technical colleges saw an increase of 569 students (6.0 percent). 

KBOR Chair Jon Rolph said system-wide initiatives have begun to reverse that trend. 

“Our system is taking decisive action to reverse declining enrollments, better serve students and ensure that our state has the workforce needed to grow the Kansas economy,” Rolph said. “Initiatives such as our general education package and implementation of student success initiatives will help our system serve and graduate more students.” 

The good news? 

“Last fall, enrollment was down 6 percent overall, so we are closing the gap,” Smith said. 

By the numbers: 

PSU has 893 new freshmen this fall. 

PSU has a total undergrad and graduate enrollment of 5,858 students. 

About the Kansas Board of Regents: 

The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents is the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions, which includes six state universities, one municipal university, nineteen community colleges, and six technical colleges.