Kennesaw State enrollment tops 24,000 for fall 2011

University among handful of state, regional and research institutions showing growth

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 12, 2011) Enrollment at Kennesaw State University grew by 3.1 percent to a record 24,175 students in fall 201l, outpacing overall growth in the University System of Georgia.

USG enrollment grew by 2.1 percent to 318,027 students in fall 2011, according to the system’s recently released Semester Enrollment Report. Among 21 USG institutions classified as research, regional and state universities and two-year colleges, only five institutions reported growth of 3 percent or higher.

“The continued enrollment growth at Kennesaw State reflects how students are responding to our positioning of the university as a destination campus with outstanding academic programs and an inviting, supportive environment,” said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. “We are not only attracting more students, we are attracting a higher caliber of students from a broader geographic area.”

Increases in enrollment and the academic qualifications of entering Kennesaw State freshmen are reflected in five-year trends for the university. Enrollment, for example, increased 22 percent from fall 2006 to fall 2011. In addition, SAT scores for first-time freshmen increased from 1,064 in fall 2006 to 1,078 in fall 2011, higher than the state and national averages. The average high school grade-point average for first-time freshmen at KSU was a record 3.21 in fall 2011.

Kennesaw State officials credit the university’s continued growth to a number of factors, including the expansion of academic programs and on-campus housing, as well as targeted recruiting efforts.  

“Despite economic uncertainty and new guidelines for the HOPE scholarship impacting students’ options, Kennesaw State’s reputation and name continue to be draws,” said Kim West, KSU’s associate vice president for enrollment services and registrar.  “We have been very aggressive in recruiting and promoting the KSU name and quality, and that continues to pay off in enrollment growth.”

Increases in SAT scores and GPAs for entering freshmen are partially a result of programs designed to attract high-achieving high school and first-year students, according to West.

KSU’s dual-enrollment honors program for high-performing high school juniors and seniors who are simultaneously enrolled in college grew to 200 in fall 2011. About one-third of dually-enrolled high school students typically enroll at KSU when they graduate.

In addition, Kennesaw State has created rigorous academic honors and leadership programs like the President’s Emerging Global Scholars and The Admissions Scholars’ Great Books program, which is open to the top 5 percent of the freshmen class..

The growth in on-campus housing capacity at Kennesaw State to 3,500 beds has led to enrollment population shifts over the past five years. The university has experienced a 5 percent decline in the number of Cobb County residents and triple-digit increases in the percentage of students from counties not adjacent to Cobb County. 

Counties with rapidly increasing enrollment growth rates from fall 2005 to fall 2011 include Henry (256 percent increase), Coweta (212 percent increase), Walton (334 percent increase), Muscogee (280 percent increase) and Rockdale (125 percent increase) counties. During that same period, enrollment also increased from Fulton (40 percent); Gwinnett (125 percent) and DeKalb (79 percent) counties.   

The rise in the number of graduate programs at Kennesaw State also is contributing to increased enrollment. In fall 2011, KSU added two new graduate programs — a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communications. Since 2007, the university launched five doctoral programs in business, education, nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. KSU now offers 28 graduate degree programs. 

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