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Fall enrollment jumps significantly at Kentucky's independent colleges and universities

For Immediate Release
Contact: Leigh Anne Hiatt, Communications Specialist, 859.619.7916,

FRANKFORT, Ky., March 28, 2024 — Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities saw a significant increase in enrollment this year, according to new Fall 2023 enrollment data available from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.


Total fall enrollment grew by 8.5% at the 18 institutions that make up the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. There were 4,640 more students enrolling than in Fall 2022.


“This is great news for the commonwealth’s independent college campuses,” AIKCU President Mason Dyer said. “This year’s boost in enrollment tells us that students and families recognize the unique value that our independent colleges and universities offer.”


Dyer said that AIKCU members have been making substantial investments to improve student outcomes and retention as they continue to recover from the pandemic. “This renewed momentum confirms that we’re focusing on the right things and moving in the right direction.”


Headcount Breaks Record

Headcount enrollment at AIKCU institutions reached a record 59,088 students for Fall 2023. “This continues a period of phenomenal growth for AIKCU member colleges and universities,” Dyer said. “Our overall enrollment is up more than 63% over the last decade.”                                           


Undergraduate & Graduate Enrollment Up

While much of that growth has been driven by the expansion of graduate enrollment (up 255% since 2013), Fall 2023 saw significant growth at the undergraduate level as well. Total Fall 2023 undergraduate enrollment at AIKCU institutions increased by 5.6% to approximately 33,000 students. Nearly 24,000 of those undergraduate students were enrolled full time in the fall.


First-time, full-time enrollment among AIKCU institutions (the traditional entering class) increased 4.4%. Fall 2023 AIKCU graduate enrollment increased by 12.4% over Fall 2022 after a slight dip last fall.


The 8.5% enrollment growth at independent colleges and universities played a large part in Kentucky’s 4.4% overall statewide enrollment growth. Total fall enrollment was up 1.3% at public four-year universities and 6.5% within the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, for an overall increase of 3.3% within the public sector.


You can explore the data in the CPE Data Center.

Enrollment Chart_Fall 2023.jpg

AIKCU Numbers at a Glance

  • 8.5% increase in total headcount enrollment in Fall 2023.

  • 4,640 more students enrolling Fall 2023 over Fall 2022.

  • Record 59,088 students for Fall 2023.

  • 63% increase in overall enrollment (undergraduate and graduate) from Fall 2013-Fall 2023

  • 4.4% increase in first-time, full-time students in Fall 2023.

  • 12.4% increase in graduate enrollment Fall 2023 over Fall 2022.

  • 5.6% increase in Fall 2023 undergraduate enrollment.

  • 255% increase in graduate enrollment from Fall 2013-Fall 2023.

  • 8.5% increase at independent colleges and universities contributed to 4.4% increase in Kentucky’s
    overall statewide enrollment at both public and private institutions.



The Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities advances the interests of Kentucky's independent, nonprofit colleges and universities by promoting postsecondary affordability and student success through policy advocacy, strategic partnerships, and community engagement. AIKCU’s 18 member colleges and universities are all accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. 
Independent colleges play a critical role in the commonwealth’s postsecondary education system, serving more than 50,000 students and awarding 13,600 degrees annually.


AIKCU Members by County

Adair: Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia

Boyle: Centre College, Danville

Carter: Kentucky Christian University, Grayson

Daviess: Brescia University and Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro

Fayette: Transylvania University, Lexington

Kenton: Thomas More University, Crestview Hills

Knott: Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes

Knox: Union Commonwealth University, Barbourville

Jefferson: Bellarmine University and Spalding University, Louisville

Jessamine: Asbury University, Wilmore

Madison: Berea College, Berea

Pike: University of Pikeville, Pikeville

Scott: Georgetown College, Georgetown

Taylor: Campbellsville University, Campbellsville

Whitley: University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg

Woodford: Midway University, Midway

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