A record number of first-time freshmen, 293, began classes at Park University on August 14. Park University’s fall enrollment totaled 9,510 students, a 5.2 percent increase since last year.
Several factors contributed to the largest freshman class in Park’s 142-year history, including: the growth of Park’s athletics programs; a new cost structure for meal plans; the renovation of Norrington Center, Park’s historic Carnegie Library and its student center, Thompson Commons; and the establishment of the Fides et Labor scholarship, which provides free housing and meals for students who work 20 hours per week on campus and get involved in University organizations and events.
"In 2016, we declared that enrollment growth was a key priority for our institution. Our Fall 2017 results confirm that our entire University heard the clarion call and responded in an unprecedented way,” President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., said. “From recruiting and retention, to the upkeep of the campus, the hosting of special events and providing superior support services to students, every effort impacted enrollment.”
Enrollment on Park’s historic Parkville Campus increased 12.3 percent, from 1,295 to 1,455. Park also experienced increases in the numbers of new international students and graduate students.
“Park University is focused on broadening access to education, and we meet individuals’ unique needs once they become students,” said Shane Smeed, vice president and chief operating officer.
On August 14, Park began offering undergraduate and graduate classes at the Lenexa, Kan., Civic Campus, which opened on July 31.
“Our commitment to student success is evident in our small class sizes taught by highly qualified faculty and adjunct faculty,” said Michelle Myers, Ed.D., interim provost. “Engaged students return semester after semester and persist to graduation.”
The previous record for first-time freshmen, 257, occurred in 2008.