Classes begin next week at Eastern Kentucky University, but a combination pep rally/reality check took place Monday on the Richmond campus. The fall annual convocation drew hundreds of faculty and staff. President Doug Whitlock says to expect about 16-thousand-500 students. Although that’s about the same as last year, Whitlock sees positives in the numbers.
“One is the fact that this is the first year of our higher admissions standards. The fact is we had more applications for admissions than at any time in the past. But our admission standards being higher, had an impact on the ultimate size of the incoming freshman class,” said Whitlock.
Whitlock figures a better prepared freshmen class should lead to a higher level of student retention. The EKU president says the university is also committed to improving its graduation rates.
He says it’s likely the university will embark on a new capital campaign. Whitlock is optimistic of success, based on more than three million dollars in gifts received the past fiscal year.
“This is an increase of 40 percent over the prior year. We had 9-thousand 690 donors, an increase of one percent. But significantly, donors contributing more than one-thousand dollars each, totaled 394, an increase of 19 percent,” said Whitlock.
Whitlock says EKU continues to deliver a quality product despite getting fewer dollars from Frankfort. He recalls a time when Eastern got 75 percent of its funds from the state and 25 percent from tuition and fees. Whitlock says the ratio today is 35 percent from the state and 65 percent from tuition and fees.