Campus News

Promise Made; Promise Kept: Enrollment Numbers Show Revitalization Working


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2014) — Three years ago, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and the Board of Trustees embarked on a mission to strategically grow enrollment while undertaking a massive revitalization of the campus core.

In announcing preliminary numbers last week that show UK has enrolled its largest, most diverse and academically prepared first-year class in its history, Capilouto said investments in that mission and on the campus are an example of a “promise made; promise kept” to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“This board understood the need to grow our enrollment thoughtfully and strategically, to find new and innovative ways to invest in our students, faculty and staff, and to make tangible, concrete steps toward being one of the handful of premier residential public research campuses in America,” Capilouto said. “With this first-year class, and surrounded by some $1 billion of self-financed investment underway on our campus, we are making good on that plan and, in doing so, we are bucking national trends toward declining enrollment.”

Specifically, Capilouto said the preliminary first-year class of 5,188 students, up from 4,684 last year, is the third consecutive year of record growth at UK. UK, as a result, has crossed 30,000 students for the first time, according to preliminary numbers that won’t be final until the end of September. Highlights of the class and overall preliminary enrollment include:

  • Average ACT scores have increased to 25.5, up from 25.3 last year. The average high school GPA was 3.63.
  • 113 National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic Finalists, up from a record 105 last year that placed UK among the Top 10 of public institutions
  • 10 first-year students with perfect ACT/SAT scores, up from 9 last year, and 2,402 first-year students with ACT/SATs of between 26 to 36.
  • 20,677 applied to UK — the first time applications exceeded 20,000. Applications are up 70 percent since 2009
  • Undergraduate African-American enrollment overall at 2,107; Hispanic enrollment at 849 and international enrollment at 807 reach new highs.
  • Number of students participating in new Living/Learning programs at 1,734, up from 960 last year
  • Resident/non-resident mix of 62 percent; 38 percent — a continuation of a planned growth in non-resident population to diversify the campus and help ensure that continued investments can be made in university faculty and staff
  • Total preliminary enrollment of 30,062

A link to a presentation about the enrollment figures can be found at:

Nationally, the numbers of traditional college-aged students is flat or declining. As a state, Kentucky is projected to have a decline of 5 percent to 15 percent in total high school graduates between 2008-2009 and 2019-2020, according to a study conducted by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.

“Against this challenging backdrop, we are growing and thriving. It means that UK is increasingly the first choice for students in the region. At the same time, it is a remarkable thing to grow by several hundred students, while at the same time enhancing and growing quality in terms of academic preparedness and excellence,” Capilouto said. “That is attributable to so many people on our campus, including Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Don Witt and his remarkable team in enrollment management. They focus first on keeping the doors open widest for Kentuckians, but also on meeting the imperatives we have set forth to create a larger and more diverse class that enhances the life of our campus. That is critical for our campus. It’s important for Kentucky as well."

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jay Blanton, 859-699-0041;