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EKU VP says university sees enrollment growth for first time in six years

Stu Johnson
Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents 9-16-22

For the first time in six years, Eastern Kentucky University is experiencing enrollment growth. The student numbers overall including graduate and dual credit participation show a two percent gain. Tanlee Wasson is vice president for student success, engagement, and opportunity. She said a focus the last ten years has been on student success.

“They’ve built a student success center, the STEM Center for Excellence. We’ve built in English support, and math support to help students be successful in those critical first classes, so they retain and stay. And as we see that retention grow, we’ll see enrollment growth overall,” said Wasson.

Wasson presented the enrollment information to the EKU Board of Regents Friday. She noted an uptick in enrollment, in part, can be traced to the initiation of the free textbooks and restructuring of merit-based financial aid.

Requiring ACT testing for admission was dropped during coronavirus. Wasson added research shows standardized testing can negatively impact low-income and first-generation students.

“We were already looking at possibly moving to test-optional. I think the pandemic just sped that up and so we made that decision because of access. I don’t see us rolling that back in terms of admissions. Not anytime soon,” said Wasson.

Eastern saw an almost double-digit increase in the entering freshmen class. Wasson says a 4% increase was also seen in freshmen retention into the sophomore year.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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