Regents ditch 20-day headcount enrollment metric

State universities reported their fall enrollment numbers to the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Friday. The regents have yet to release official numbers, but when they do, they will use a different metric than in previous years.

Instead of reporting 20-day headcount — the total number of students enrolled in for-credit courses on the twentieth day of class — the regents will report full-time equivalency enrollment numbers.

Full-time equivalency enrollment is based on the sum of credits taken by all students divided by the number of credits required to constitute a full-time credit load.

Wichita State President John Bardo addressed the metric change at Wednesday’s KBOR meeting in Topeka.

“I think that’s really important — especially given what’s going on with these continuous education courses now,” Bardo said, referring to courses aimed at non-degree-seeking students.

In previous years, students enrolled in WSU’s badge course and lifelong learning programs were counted towards the university’s headcount enrollment number.

Last year, WSU reported a headcount enrollment of 15,081 — accounting for 901 students who signed up for badge and lifelong learning courses.

Bardo said that, for the third year in a row, WSU will have the largest first-time freshman class in school history.

Wednesday, the regents also approved legal documents to help the YMCA — a non-for-profit — maintain tax-exempt status in the parts of the health and wellness facility they’ll be operating on WSU’s Innovation Campus.

In May, the City of Wichita issued the Greater Wichita YMCA $25 million in industrial revenue bonds — $17.5 million of which was allocated to the construction of the facility at WSU. The facility is expected to open in early 2020.

Last month, the YMCA announced a $3 million partnership with Wesley Healthcare to bring an urgent care center to WSU’s new health and wellness center.

Because Wesley is a for-profit entity, the YMCA asked WSU to execute legal documents to distinguish the taxable and non-taxable space in the new facility.

For the second year in a row, WSU students are paying a tiered Health and Wellness Fee, which will fund the operation of the YMCA and wellness center. No tuition, fees, or tax money are going towards the urgent care center, which will mostly serve non-students.

Students already have access to on-campus healthcare through Student Health Services, located in Ahlberg Hall.