College students begin hitting campus this week in record numbers

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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College students are moving into their residence halls this week across Kentucky, and several of the universities are reporting large gains in enrollment after several years of declines due to factors that include the COVID-19 pandemic.

While classes at most schools begin next week, Murray State University’s first day of classes was Tuesday, with officials saying they are approaching the all-time freshmen record with final enrollment numbers available within a few weeks.

Based on preliminary data, the University’s overall student enrollment includes representation from each of the 50 states for the first time. This year’s overall enrollment also includes students from 55 countries throughout the world.

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Murray’s campus housing will be at or near capacity at the start of the fall semester, so the school was able to secure additional off-campus housing for a small number of upperclassmen.

During his opening convocation address to faculty and staff on Monday, Western Kentucky University President Timothy Carboni announced the total enrollment for the fall semester at the Bowling Green school is up 3.1% compared to this time last year.

“And once again this fall, we’re on track to welcome one of the most academically talented first-year classes in our university’s history,” Caboni said. “Our incoming class boasts an average GPA of 3.49, up from 3.31 in the fall of 2017.”

In addition, he noted graduate enrollment at WKU is up 9% from last fall, and the retention rate shows a 6.7% rise from 2017.

The University of Kentucky is transforming this week as nearly 7,000 students move into their residence halls now through Wednesday.

“We are so excited to welcome the largest freshman class in the history of UK,” said Sarah Nikirk, executive director of UK Auxiliary Services. “The residence halls are where students have access to everything right out their front door.  Everything from free tutoring to numerous dining halls to a myriad of services and support are just a short walk for students who live on campus.  We can’t wait to have their energy on campus. Move-in is when the residence halls truly come alive.”

The move-in is being made easier due to almost 700 volunteers, including more than 475 staff, plus UK Residence Life employees, helping new students settle into life on campus and in Lexington.  Even UK President Eli Capilouto has been on hand to welcome students.

At the University of Louisville, President Kim Schatzel will be welcoming students to campus for the fall semester on Thursday for their move-in day.

Faculty, staff and community volunteers will be on hand to help students and their families move belongings into residence halls.  This will kick off a full schedule of Welcome Week activities at UofL, prior to the first day of classes on Monday.

U of L says Welcome Week is an exciting series of events and activities that help first-year, commuter, transfer and returning students get the fall semester started off right. During this time, they can meet thousands of new and upper-class students to help make U of L their new home, all while enjoying an almost endless supply of free food and prizes through Sunday.