Campus News

Record enrollment, graduation numbers underscore commitment to advance Kentucky

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Image of classroom inside the J. David Rosenberg College of Law building
students walking on campus during first day of class

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2022) University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto on Friday said that record enrollment and historic graduation rates are essential components to UK’s mission to advance the Commonwealth.

The preliminary fall enrollment and graduation rates were announced during a meeting Friday of UK’s Board of Trustees.

“The future of our state — and the role we must play in advancing Kentucky — is understood most clearly in the students we prepare, not simply for jobs and careers, but for lives of meaning and purpose,” Capilouto said. “We expect the students we are educating today to be those who will create and lead a Kentucky that is healthier, wealthier and wiser tomorrow.”

Details of the preliminary enrollment report include:

  • First-year preliminary fall enrollment numbers show 6,120 first-year students — a record number, nearly 800 more than the previous high in 2019. Similarly, overall preliminary enrollment is also a record high of nearly 33,000 students, up nearly 5% over last year.
  • UK’s six-year graduation rate is now at nearly 69% — a record — and more than 10% points higher than it was a decade ago. Four-year-and-five-year graduation rates are also at record levels. In fact, the four-year graduation rate — 55% — is 23 percentage points higher than it was in 2010.
  • In 2020, less than 18% of public institutions that primarily grant bachelor’s degrees or higher had six-year graduation rates of 70% or more. “We are growing, and growing at a rate and pace, to meet the needs of the state, providing an outstanding education to Kentuckians right here in the Commonwealth,” Capilouto said.
  • UK also continues to make significant strides in having a diverse and inclusive student body. Overall, preliminary enrollment for underrepresented minority students (URM the state’s term for students of color) is up 7% from the previous year; students of color now represent more than 16% of the student body. First-year preliminary URM numbers are up nearly 24% over the previous year and represent 18% of the freshman class this fall.
  • Almost 25% of UK’s first-year class are first-generation students, consistent with the overall student population and with numbers over the last several years.
  • Finally, the number of degrees conferred by the university reached nearly 7,600 in 2021-2022 — an increase of more than 1,700 over the last 10 years and the first time UK has crossed 7,500 degrees granted. “We want, and expect, that number to continue to grow,” Capilouto said.

“What you are seeing is a testament to a community that cares; a community that is committed to students in everything that we do,” Capilouto said. “That is how we can advance Kentucky. When we help students succeed, we are laying the foundation for a more successful Commonwealth — now and far into the future.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.