Enrollment Growth Propels Kennesaw State to Georgia’s Second-Largest University

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 11, 2020

Having earned its reputation as a university of choice for many Georgians, Kennesaw State University placed an exclamation point on that title this fall by eclipsing the 41,000-student milestone for the first time in its 56-year history and laying claim as Georgia’s second-largest institution.

The University’s record-breaking enrollment, an almost 9 percent increase over last fall, is bolstered by more than 8,300 new students representing the Class of 2024. The increase in freshmen and transfer freshmen this fall denotes an almost 30 percent increase over 2019’s freshman class, which itself was 30 percent larger than the year prior. This means that KSU has the largest freshman class enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in the state of Georgia.

As of this fall, KSU enrolls 37,390 undergraduate and 3,791 graduate students.

"We continue to see an increasing number of students choosing to invest in their future at Kennesaw State,” President Pamela Whitten said. “Our record enrollment of more than 41,000 students is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff to make KSU an institution that puts students first."

The growth Kennesaw State has experienced in recent years has resulted in a unique student population, Whitten added. KSU is now home to students hailing from 154 of Georgia’s 159 counties with all 50 states represented in its student body. Additionally, international students enroll from around the world, with 126 counties represented in total.

More than 14,000 students – nearly 38 percent of the undergraduate enrollment – identify as first-generation, meaning that their parents or guardians did not attain a four-year college degree. Kennesaw State also has a diverse student body with female and male students represented at 50.4 and 49.6 percent, respectively, African-American or Black students representing 24 percent and Hispanic/Latino students making up 12 percent among other groups.

Attracting top students also means providing opportunities for all students, and in many cases that means reducing the financial burden of attending college. In January of this year, Kennesaw State received two of the largest philanthropic donations in the University’s history, dedicated to providing scholarships to students to attend Kennesaw State.   

John and Rosemary Brown committed $10 million to establish an endowment matching fund to provide scholarships for students in KSU Journey Honors College. Their gift is being used to match other donors’ endowments at 150 percent to support the College in perpetuity, with the goal of growing their initial investment to $25 million.

This fall, the Honors College welcomed 671 new students, bringing its total enrollment to nearly 1,500 students – a 5 percent increase over fall 2019.

In February, KSU received a gift of nearly $9 million from Wellstar Health System to double enrollment in the nursing program through the Wellstar Excellence in Nursing Scholarship. This scholarship will fund approximately 50 scholarships annually to eligible KSU students and will help address the nursing shortage in Georgia. KSU’s Wellstar School of Nursing already attracts students from across the state, and graduates of the program have consistently received a 100 percent passing rate on the National Council Licensure Examination on their first attempt, well above the 89 percent figure nationwide. This fall, enrollment in the School of Nursing increased by 12 percent over fall 2019.

With more students enrolling at KSU comes the need for more faculty, support services and facilities. In 2019, the University added close to 100 new full-time faculty members along with increasing the number of academic advisors. 

Kennesaw State is constructing new academic spaces across its two metro Atlanta campuses. Last year, the University completed construction on the Science Lab Annex, a 10,411-square-foot addition to the current Engineering Lab Building in Marietta. The space will enable the College of Science and Mathematics to expand biology and chemistry course offerings to students.

Earlier this year, on the Kennesaw campus, the University broke ground on its 143,000-square-foot Academic Learning Center. The student-focused facility will feature 20 classrooms, six seminar rooms, a multi-purpose lecture hall, and computer and other specialized labs. Additionally, the University received approval from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to build a new residence hall to accommodate its growing student population. The approximately 514-bed residence hall has a targeted opening of fall semester 2022.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.