Strong Academic Quality, Diversity Mark First-Year Class, UK Enrollment

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2016) — The University of Kentucky’s first-year class of more than 5,160 students is among the most diverse and academically prepared in UK’s history.

The preliminary enrollment of 5,162 as of the first day of class Aug. 24 marks the third consecutive year the first-year class has topped 5,000 students and the overall enrollment has surpassed 30,000 students. Preliminary numbers based on the first day of class have overall enrollment at 30,678.

“The UK brand for academic quality in a vibrant residential research campus setting continues to draw some of the best students from across the Commonwealth and increasingly the region and country,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “We have revitalized our campus facilities and reorganized our academic support units to create the kind of environment and community where every student belongs and where every student knows we are focused on their success.”

A snapshot of preliminary enrollment numbers includes:

  • After significant growth, UK officials are intentionally maintaining enrollment numbers of between 5,000 and 5,200 to ensure appropriate levels of student support as part of the institution’s Strategic Plan that focuses on improving retention and graduation rates as well as diversity. The Board of Trustees will discuss the numbers and progress on the Strategic Plan in more depth at its October retreat.

“We are focused with intensity on student success in all that we do,” said UK Provost Tim Tracy. “We want to open the doors wide to every student — particularly Kentuckians — who are academically prepared to succeed, but we also want to ensure that the resources and support are here as well to maximize the potential of these outstanding students.”

  • Under-represented student populations constitute more than 18.5 percent of the first-year class, again up over previous years and part of a continual increase since 2011 when under-represented students were about 14 percent of the first-year class.
  • Record applications to UK of 24,311, up from 22,521 last year. It’s the first time UK has received more than 24,000 applications.
  • In-state and out-of-state percentages remained roughly the same from last year, with 62 percent of students coming from Kentucky and 38 percent coming from outside the state.
  • Average ACT score for first-year students is 25.6, up slightly from last year’s average of 25.5, and 12 students scored perfect ACT/SATs. And the mid-50 percentile for the freshman class rose from 22-28 to 22-29 this year.

“Our incredible enrollment management team continues to meet with outstanding students in every corner of our state and throughout the country,” said Don Witt, associate provost for enrollment management.

Witt and his team visit every high school in the state and hold 21 preview nights in Kentucky and the region.

“I continue to be impressed by how students and families want academic rigor in a community setting that supports their goals and plans for the future,” Witt said. “Increasingly, for so many of the state’s best and brightest and the region, UK is that place.”


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue

MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Blanton, 859-257-6605,