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Key Takeaways

​​The preliminary enrollment report for this academic year that we shared with the Board of Trustees on Friday demonstrates continued growth in our student body, anchored by a record first-year class of students. But it also underscores the progress we are making toward meeting our mission of:

  • Educating more students;
  • Graduating more of them on time and ensuring their success;
  • And shaping a more diverse and inclusive community, one that reflects the world in which our students will enter and help lead.


Campus Community, 

The future of our state — and the role we must play in advancing Kentucky — is understood most clearly, I think, in the students we prepare.

We prepare them not simply for jobs and careers, but for lives of meaning and purpose.

We expect the students we are educating today to be those who will create and lead a Kentucky that is healthier, wealthier and wiser tomorrow.

That’s why I am so pleased with the details of an exciting preliminary enrollment report that we provided to our Board of Trustees on Friday. It depicts with clarity and purpose, with commitment and a sense of progress, how we are growing to meet the needs of our state and its future.

Here’s a summary of the highlights:

The Overall Student Body

  • Our preliminary numbers indicate a student body this year of nearly 33,000 students — a record high — and up nearly 5,000 students since fall 2010.
  • Importantly, we are maintaining our steadfast commitment to opening more doors to more students, from more varied backgrounds, while keeping our doors open widest to Kentuckians. About 65 percent of our students continue to come from the Commonwealth.
  • And we’ve continued to expand our commitment to students of color, as now more than 16 percent of UK students are underrepresented minorities (the state’s designation for students of color).

The First-Year Class

  • This fall, for the first time, UK has enrolled more than 6,000 first-year students — 6,120, according to our preliminary count. This is a nearly 30% increase over the last year and more than a 40% increase compared to fall 2010.
  • As with our overall student body, we are enrolling more non-resident students, but maintaining the commitment to Kentucky — with 63% of our students from the state and, preliminarily, 37% from outside Kentucky.
  • Our commitment to diversity and inclusivity has continued to grow, as represented by this first-year class: 1,100 first-year students are underrepresented minorities, a nearly 24% increase in students of color from the previous year.
  • About 25% of students in this first-year class are first-generation college students — an increase of nearly 300 more students compared to last year. Nearly three quarters of these students are Kentuckians.
  • This fall, our preliminary six-year graduation rate is nearly 69%. We also are on the verge of a significant milestone. In 2020, fewer than 100 public institutions who primarily grant bachelor’s degrees or higher had six-year graduation rates of 70% or more. We are almost there — a number that would place us among the most successful institutions in the country. Most importantly, we are growing, and growing at a rate and pace, to meet the needs of our state.
  • Looked at another way, the number of degrees being produced has continued to grow over the last 10 years, with preliminary estimates for 2021-2022 showing nearly 7,600 degrees, surpassing the 7,500 mark for the first time. We are not done. We want — and we expect — that number to continue to grow.

What you are seeing is a testament to a community that cares; a community that is committed to students in everything that we do.

That is how we can advance Kentucky. When we help students succeed, we are laying the foundation for a more successful Commonwealth — now and far into the future.

Because where there is need, there is us.

And where Kentucky needs us to be, and where Kentucky needs us to focus, we will be there.

We have all of you to thank for that, with your commitment to our students and to providing an outstanding education that creates a sense of tremendous momentum as we seek to advance our state.

Thank you.

Eli Capilouto President