Skip to main content

Record-Setting Retention, Graduate Students Highlight ESU Enrollment Report

Emporia State saw a slight decline in overall headcount enrollment for fall 2020, thanks in large part to a record number of graduate students.

The enrollment report issued on the 20th day of the fall semester showed:

  • 5,828 total enrollment for fall 2020, a decline of 0.8%, or 49 students, from fall 2019;
  • 2,646 graduate students, an increase of 174 students from fall 2019 (7%) and the largest graduate student enrollment on record; and
  • 3,182 undergraduate students, which included anticipated declines in new, first-time and international students.

Today’s 20th day report released by the Kansas Board of Regents also included statistics for full-time equivalency students, or FTEs. Calculations of FTEs assume 15 credit hours in one semester equals one FTE undergraduate student. For graduate students, 12 credit hours in a semester equals one student. In total FTEs, Emporia State saw a decrease of 2.3%.

Emporia State’s headcount report brought both good news — with indicators that speak to student success and graduate enrollment growth — as well as challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last spring, we knew we had a record number of graduating students. Throughout the spring we tracked ahead of 2019 in the number of new undergraduate students seeking admission to Emporia State for the third year in a row,” said ESU President Allison D. Garrett. “The precautions we took during the spring that involved shutting campus down and going virtual negatively impacted our enrollment, as did the decline in international students.”

Positive signs from ESU’s enrollment report include:

  • A third-consecutive year of a record-setting student retention, which is the percentage of first-time, full-time students from 2019 who returned for 2020. In fall 2020, this retention rate was 77.6%, up nearly a full point from 2019, which also set a record at 76.7%. This is well above the national average retention rate.
  • During the 2019-20 academic year, Emporia State broke records for the number of students who graduated. ESU awarded 1,685 degrees and certificate credentials, a 3.2% increase from the previous year, and the highest number of total graduates since 1974 when ESU began archiving this data. This total also included 941 graduate-level degrees, the highest number the university has ever awarded.

“While an enrollment report always contains an array of numbers, behind each number is a student who achieved their dream,” said Garrett. “ESU is thrilled to play a part in so many students reaching their goals.”