University of Kentucky: record first-year enrollment, diversity show commitment to state


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- The University of Kentucky says its record first-year enrollment and growing diversity show a commitment to Kentucky.

There are 5,396 students in 2019’s freshman class. The university says that is 319 more students than last year.

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“We are the University for Kentucky,” UK President Eli Capilouto said Friday when telling the university’s Board of Trustees about the new class.

“We demonstrate that through our research, service and health care. But we also demonstrate that commitment by educating more students, preparing them for lives of meaning and purpose and supporting and challenging them to dream boldly and achieve greatly — in Kentucky and in the world beyond our state’s borders,” he said.

“These numbers reflect the continued momentum of the University of Kentucky in recruiting outstanding students from Kentucky and, increasingly, the region and across the country,” said Britt Brockman, chair of the UK Board of Trustees.

“Most importantly, the numbers reflect the unwavering commitment we have to meeting the needs of the Commonwealth — in the research we conduct, in the service we render in every county of the state, and in the education we provide that is preparing students to not only create a skilled workforce, but in creating a new and stronger economy for Kentucky. These students are imagining anew what is possible for our university and for the state we serve,” he said.

UK says the class has 1,014 students from underrepresented populations, nearly 19% of the class, up from 863 last year.

The number of African American students increased to 383, an increase from 367 last year.

The number of Hispanic students reached a record level of 353, up from 250 last year.

There are 3,422 Kentuckians in the first year class, up from 3,259 last year.

UK says that’s the largest number of Kentuckians in the first-year class since 2009.

The university also says more students are transferring in from community colleges. 1,055 students are transfers. The university says that’s the highest amount to enroll in five years.

According to UK, its new students are also better prepared academically. Twenty-two first-year students had a perfect ACT or SAT score. Previously, 15 students made the record. The first year class’ average GPA is 3.78, which is about the same as it was last year. Last year, 604 first-year students were enrolled in the Lewis Honors College. This year that number has grown to 604.

“We have outstanding enrollment and student and academic life professionals who tirelessly work to recruit students and to support and challenge them as they join this special community,” Capilouto said.

“We put students first in everything that we do at the University of Kentucky. In doing so, we honor our mission and purpose as Kentucky’s university,” he said.