KU Edwards Campus enrollment continues to climb, up 4 percent for fall 2019
Enrollment at the KU Edwards Campus (KUEC) in Overland Park continues to rise, with a reported 4 percent increase in student credit hours for KUEC-administered programs, compared to Fall 2018 – up 24.5 percent over the past three years. This brings the total student credits hours for fall 2019 to 13,393 – the highest enrollment in more than 10 years.
KUEC saw growth in both its graduate programs and undergraduate programs, which alone grew by 6.7 percent. Combined, online programs grew by a whopping 70 percent compared to fall 2018. Long-standing programs with the highest growth year over year include the following:
- Master’s in integrated marketing communications grew 70.8%
- Master’s in project management grew 48.9%
- Bachelor’s in information technology grew 38.2%
- Bachelor’s in molecular biosciences grew 23.4%
- Bachelor’s in psychology grew 28.2%
- Bachelor’s in literature, language and writing grew 14.0%
The growth in these programs reflects the area’s rising need in these fields. Area companies report heightened need to recruit top talent, and KUEC is uniquely positioned to help organizations do just that, supporting the local economy.
Through close partnerships with local companies and organizations such as KC Rising and the Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT), the KU Edwards Campus ensures training aligns with local and national workforce needs. The Johnson County Education Research Triangle supports 27 degrees and certificate programs at KUEC, which grew 15 percent in the last year.
“This continued growth is a testament to the relevance of our offerings and our strong collaborations with the local business community and area community colleges and high schools,” said David Cook, vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus. “We are deliberate in the types of programs we offer, the quality of education we deliver and the services we provide to our unique student body of nontraditional, adult learners. We’re thrilled to provide more education to the metro and beyond.”
Today, KUEC offers more than 50 graduate, undergraduate and academic certificate programs. In a February 2019 opinion article for The Kansas City Star Chancellor Douglas A. Girod wrote, “During the next decade, half of all jobs in Kansas City will require an associate degree or more advanced degree, and 75 percent of top jobs will require a postsecondary credential. The combination of low unemployment and ever-changing workplaces increases the need for higher education to address workforce shortages.”
A KU answer to the unique workforce needs of the Kansas City metro area, KUEC serves nearly 2,000 nontraditional students with flexible, career-focused education. Three-quarters of KUEC students have jobs and almost 50 percent work full time; 80 percent are over the age of 25; 27 percent are parents of children under 18; and approximately 23 percent are first generation college students. Serving both Kansas and Missouri, KUEC’s MetroKC rate provides in-state-equivalent tuition rates to all students across the metro, and its innovative transfer pathways offer high school and community college students in the area streamlined access to a four-year degree.
As KU Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Carl W. Lejuez said in his recent message to the university, “KU Edwards Campus excels in developing and hosting new opportunities to help KU’s academic offerings connect with people who have highly diverse aspirations and exceptionally diverse needs and pressures.”
Recent master’s in integrated marketing communications alumnus Christian Vedder personifies this point and expressed the benefits of KUEC’s focus on working professionals.
“The most difficult part of earning my degree was maintaining work-school-family-life balance and keeping things on track in all of those important aspects of my day-to-day life over the last couple of years,” Vedder said. “My KUEC IMC master’s degree prepared me for the future from day one. I know it has been used as a slogan, but the phrase ‘learn it tonight, use it tomorrow’ is absolutely true. This made learning at KUEC a much more meaningful experience, being able to walk out of class immediately prepared to put what I have learned into action tomorrow and into the future.”