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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Graduate student applications and enrollment declining university wide, may cause $2 million budget shortfall

Allison Campbell
David Miller, the university budget director, presents an outline of how the university takes in and distributes funds to the Student Government Association on Feb. 7. Miller also spoke about Wichita State’s financial “challenge” regarding international graduate students.

In an email titled “Enrollment is everyone’s responsibility” sent to faculty and staff, Richard Muma and Shirley Lefever said that Wichita State is facing a $2 million gap in its budget following drops in graduate student applications “both domestically and internationally.”

Between fall 2022 and fall 2023, the graduate student headcount across the university fell by nearly 300 students. The biggest offender in this drop-off was the College of Engineering, which saw a 24% drop in enrollment.

The next biggest and only other drop in graduate enrollment was a 7% fall in the College of Health Professions.

This comes after graduate enrollment in the College of Engineering nearly doubled between fall 2021 and fall 2022.

WSU administration laid out its “measures” to “bolster applications and admissions” in graduate programs at the university, which include:

  • Removing the GRE requirement for admissions
  • Making the Intensive English program’s tuition “more competitive” 
  • Setting enrollment goals for programs with deans, which, if not met, “further interventions will be implemented”

During public forum at a Student Senate meeting on Feb. 7, David Miller, the university’s budget director, spoke about the university’s financial “challenge” in regard to international graduate students.

Miller said that credit hours generated by graduate students fell by “about 11%” in the fall of 2023. Graduate students pay a higher tuition rate than undergraduate students, and international graduate students “pay an even higher rate.”

“That (graduate student enrollment) is something we are going to have to wrestle with in this next upcoming budget cycle because if we don’t start growing more on the graduate side, we’ll have to figure out how to make up those revenue losses,” Miller said.

According to the president and provost’s email, closing that gap will manifest “in the form of budget cuts.”

Editor’s note: The headline of this story has been changed for clarity.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Former managing editor
Trinity Ramm was the managing editor in 2023-2024 and former sports editor in 2022-2023 for The Sunflower.  Ramm graduated with a major in English, a minor in sociology, and a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor-in-Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a senior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. She served as one of the news editors during the 2023-2024 year. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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    Lisa K VaydaFeb 12, 2024 at 4:10 pm

    I wish to make an observation: I was a part-time undergraduate and then graduate student at WSU from 2017-2022. I have muscular dystrophy and would occasionally utilize disability services to get the shuttle cart for transportation. These services were offered 8 am-5 pm M-F when the Disability Services office was open. Many graduate courses are offered after 5 pm. Thus when I started graduate school, I no longer had access to this shuttle service. I used my scooter more and more often. I had my spouse come help or asked other students to help me load my scooter into my car, many times at night after an evening course. I complained to administration several times about this lack of accommodations despite WSU advertising that they had Disability services. My saving grace was that students in the engineering department took me on as a project and made me a customized lift for my car. THANK YOU WSU School of Engineering for that endeavor!
    My point is that maybe there would be at least a few more graduate students if WSU was accommodating to ALL graduate students.
    Lisa Vayda, WSU ’22