Declining enrollment at K-State could have impacts that go beyond campus

Local News

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — Fewer students are going to K-State, and as enrollment declines, the effects won’t just be felt on campus. 

For the fifth year in a row, enrollment at K-State has dropped. For several businesses whose customers are mostly students, it could be bad for sales.

Stores like THREAD see an increase in business once the school year is in session.

“Since like that first week, our business gets a lot busier,” said employee Maggie Hammes.

Just a couple doors down, the Dusty Bookshelf also see an influx of students coming into their shop

Manager Sarah Wilson said she hasn’t noticed a drop in business so far despite the drop in enrollment.

“It is certainly something to think about,” said Wilson. “We’re kind of lucky in this location that we have both K-State and Manhattan Christian College right near by, so we have two different groups of that patronize the store.”

While businesses recognize the economic impact students have, city leaders said that’s not the only thing students bring to the city.

“Obviously the economic impact is tremendous, but you know, we’re more excited about how Manhattan is as a community because of our students,” said Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Smith.

The Chamber of Commerce is also focusing on finding ways to keep students in Manhattan after they graduate.

“Talent is now the driver for economic development and we have to be really good at retaining our kids and the people who are here for a period of time,” said Smith.

While they can’t control the enrollment, they can make sure they create an environment that draws students in and keeps them coming back.

The university recognizes that declining enrollment is an issue and has developed a plan to address it. To see its full enrollment management plan, click HERE.

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