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UK’s first-year class is most diverse in school history

School has 5,217 first-year students, 30,000 students overall

Lexington, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2015) — The University of Kentucky has 5,217 first-year students this fall—a 21 percent increase in first-year students since 2010—and it’s the second consecutive year the school has had more than 5,000 students. It is also the second consecutive year UK has had more than 30,000 students overall.

uk_logo_white_stan_37-300x225Nearly 560 students in this first-year class are African Americans—more than 10 percent of the class—and 265 are Hispanic, making the campus the most diverse in its history.

The average ACT of first-year students is 25.5, the average GPA is 3.68, 117 students in this class are National Merit, Hispanic and Achievement Scholars and more than 700 students had ACT/SAT scores of 31 or above

The UK Office of Retention and Student Success reports that UK’s first-to-second year retention was a record 82.7 percent, with the largest ever-returning cohort of students at 4,253. The six-year graduation rate is 61 percent, the second highest in the school’s history.

“We have an incredible enrollment management team, led by Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Don Witt, who visits every high school in the state and the leading schools in the region,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Their efforts, and our increasing quality as a first-choice institution, are paying off as reflected in this class.”

In the past four years, UK has initiated—or is about to begin—more than $1.8 billion in capital construction projects, focused on living, learning and dining spaces, as well as classroom and research facilities. That foundation, according to Capilouto, is designed to create one of the pre-eminent living, learning and research environments in American public higher education.

Provost Tim Tracy said “strategic, smart growth” has been UK’s focus the past four years, efforts that have paid off. Now, as UK and the Board of Trustees consider a new strategic plan in an upcoming retreat in October, the focus will be even more on student success through increased retention and graduation rates as well as how well the institution is preparing those graduates for success in the broader world.

“We have laid a strong foundation—through infrastructure and through more strategic approaches to student success,” Tracy said. “Much progress has been made; there is still much work to do. Our strategic plan—along with the direction and leadership of our board—will focus intently on how we build on the foundation and progress that has been made as we continue our ascent as one of the country’s premier, public residential research campuses.”