Enrollment of Black Freshmen at University of Kentucky Drops 40 Percent
Enrollment of Black freshmen at the University of Kentucky fell 40 percent this fall, a drop university officials blamed in part on tougher admissions standards. UK has 151 incoming Black freshmen, or 4 percent, the university announced. The school registered 256 Black freshmen last fall, a 20 percent increase from the year before.
Scott Smith, UK’s interim provost called the decrease in Black freshmen a “serious challenge.”
Smith said the university will work to provide additional tutoring, more scholarships and a review of recruitment to improve the retention and graduation rates of Black students.
The drop can be attributed in part to UK’s slight increase in the minimum score on the ACT entrance exam, officials said.
As UK seeks increased admissions selectivity, “you don’t want to admit students when you know they come in with a low likelihood of graduating,” Smith said.
The slight increase in the minimum ACT score was from 19 to 20.
Smith and Philipp Kraemer, associate provost for undergraduate education, said retention and graduation rates indicated the academic difficulties many Black students encounter at UK.
For example, in the 2003-04 academic year — the most recent figures available — Blacks had a retention rate of 72.8 percent, while the figure for all students was 78.4 percent. Retention is the measurement of the number of first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students who return for a second year.
Also, the most recent graduation rate for Black students was 49.7 percent, while it was 59.6 for all students. These numbers were calculated for students who entered in 1998 and were tracked for six years.
The university also reported that total enrollment is 26,682, down from 26,900 a year ago.
UK President Lee Todd said recently that he expected to announce in October a plan to increase UK’s total enrollment to 35,000 by 2020.
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