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Kansas: Central To Your Success

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Education in Kansas

The state's education system is one of the best in the nation and a powerful factor contributing to the success of many businesses.

The high school graduation rate and percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree are both well above the national average. Tuition and fees at the state’s six universities compare favorably with colleges in five neighboring states, according to a study by the Kansas Board of Regents. A progressive business climate, coupled with a top-notch education system, has resulted in an adept, well-skilled and highly trainable workforce.









University of Kansas
Kansas State University
Wichita State University
Pittsburg State University
Emporia State University
Fort Hays State University
Washburn University

Major Investments

Kansas recently invested $100 million to enhance the capacity of our three excellent colleges of engineering. This investment will produce more quality engineers to meet the needs of business. Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University are increasing their engineering physical plants, the number of engineering graduates, the quality of student internships and connections to business, and enhancing their corporate engagement strategies.

The Kansas Legislature provided $130 million in financing for four major research facilities at Kansas universities: a Food Safety and Security Research Facility at Kansas State University, a Biomedical Research Facility at the University of Kansas Medical Center, equipment for the Biosciences Research Building at the University of Kansas, and expansion of the Aviation Engineering Complex at Wichita State University. In addition, the Legislature authorized $13 million for improvements to the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University. The National Center for Aviation Training, funded primarily by Sedgwick County, is managed by Wichita Area Technical College, in partnership with WSU’s NIAR.

Set Up for Success

Education Week reports that Kansas exceeds the national average on a number of key statistics including educational spending per student, pupil/teacher ratio, graduation rate, minority graduation rate, and proficiency in both math and reading. Kansas students also score above the national average on standardized college placement tests (ACT) in math, science, reading and language arts. Kansas provides high levels of technology education and computer resources to all students. Kansas also has a higher graduation rate than the U.S. Average for all demographics (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Black, and White).

Kansas educational systems provide teaching and learning that combine a focus on 21st century skills and student outcomes with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required for their success in the future.

Investing in the Future Workforce

Kansas has a long history of investing in the education of our youth to provide a quality workforce for firms choosing to do business in this state.

Career and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Kansas embraces the needs of business and industry by teaching foundational knowledge and needed skills.

Kansas has 16 Career Clusters, for students to choose from, and there are 35 Career Pathways. A Career Cluster is a group of occupations similar in skill set training. Career Pathways are focused and specific areas of study leading to an area of business or industry. Students prepare to work in seven broad career fields: agriculture, business, design, production and repair, family and consumer sciences, health, media and technology, and public services. Kansas schools provide 2,606 specific pathways across these fields.

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) enhance this instruction by offering opportunities to apply what is learned, interact with adults in their selected Career Pathway, develop leadership and employability skills, and address community issues through in-depth projects.

Kansas’ CTSOs are:
  • Kansas Future Farmers of America
  • Family, Career and Community Leaders of America
  • Business Professionals of America
  • HOSA-Future Health Professionals
  • DECA, an Association of Marketing, Finance, Hospitality and Management Students
  • SkillsUSA
  • Future Business Leaders of America
  • Technology Student Association

In 2017, students in Kansas enrolled in 140,000 CTE courses, and 23,000 students were in Kansas CTSOs. Kansas students earning three or more CTE credits have a 99 percent graduation rate.

State-Financed Tuition

The Kansas Legislature enacted the Excel in CTE initiative to enhance career technical education by providing state-financed college tuition for high school students in postsecondary technical education courses. Since the inception of the initiative in 2012, postsecondary career technical education has experienced significant growth in the number of students participating in technical courses, the college credit hours generated, and credentials earned by students in high school.

Program Alignment

The Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority (TEA) enacted the Program Alignment initiative to enhance career and technical education in our state through the alignment of specific technical programs. The initiative is driven by the needs of business and industry. The Kansas Department of Commerce and the state Board of Regents convene groups of business leaders, with participation by advisory committee members from our colleges, to essentially “map” a preferred outcome for an occupational category.

The purposeful outcomes include:

  1. Allowing business and industry to identify value-added exit points within programs
  2. Identifying and supporting student acquisition of nationally recognized third-party industry credentials
  3. Identifying a few common courses that can serve as a bridge for articulation opportunities with K-12
  4. Decrease the variability in program length

Skills for Adults

The number of adults who lack skills beyond a high school diploma is a significant national concern. In Kansas there are over 700,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) with no meaningful postsecondary credential. Increasingly, employers across the state have faced difficulties finding workers with the needed skills and credentials. Kansas community and technical colleges play a vital role in providing this education, promoting economic prosperity for all Kansans. So Kansas Department of Commerce partnered with the state Board of Regents to create Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K).

This successful program is transforming the delivery system for adult education in Kansas by delivering career and technical education at the same time as adult basic skills instruction within a Career Pathways framework. Students complete short-term certificate programs aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry-recognized credentials and leading to jobs with family-sustaining wages.

Engineering Initiative

Recognizing the competitive need for more engineering graduates, in 2012 the Kansas Legislature committed to invest $105 million over 10 years to ensure industry partners can find the new talent, designs and techniques needed to fuel economic growth and business success in Kansas.

Kansas State University, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas each match this legislative investment, dollar for dollar, resulting in more than $200 million being directed towards the education of engineers in Kansas.

Through increased enrollments, better connections for students at critical stages with Kansas companies, and increased opportunities for scholarships and internships, the three universities committed to increase undergraduate engineering degrees to 1,365 annually by 2021. The universities have already exceeded expectations, with the number of engineering graduates per year rising to 1,348 in 2017.

Credit for Military Training

The Collaborative on Military Credit Advisory Council was created to ensure veteran/military students are granted appropriate academic credit for military training and education, in addition to overseeing improved practice at institutions accepting credit recommendations from the American Council on Education.

Through collaboration between 24 Kansas public postsecondary institutions, the United States Army, Army University, the Medical Education Training Campus and the Kansas National Guard, 30 academic programs have been aligned with current military occupational specialties. These bridge programs formalize the credit that will be awarded to these service members upon enrollment in a given academic program.

Education for the 21st Century

Primary and Secondary Schools

Nearly 500,000 Kansans, grades K-12, were enrolled at our primary and secondary public schools in 2017. Kansas has consistently exceeded the national average on several key statistics including pupil/teacher ratio graduation rate and minority graduation rate.

The Kansas education system provides a curriculum that combines a focus on 21st century skills and student outcomes with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required for their success in the future.


Post-Secondary Institutions

The public system of higher education in Kansas includes four sectors: six state universities, one municipal university, 19 community colleges and seven technical colleges. The Kansas Board of Regents governs the state universities and has coordinating authority over the other three sectors. Annually, the system enrolls more than 250,000 students in a wide array of academic disciplines and degree programs.

The system annually awards more than 42,000 credentials ranging from certificates to doctoral degrees. Programs at our public post-secondary institutions support our diverse industries with graduates educated in the most current industry practices.

Community Colleges

Kansas provides strong technical education through a network of 19 public community colleges located across the state. These colleges provide education and training for your incoming workforce and current employees.

Our community colleges annually award over 15,500 certificates and associate degrees. Certificates include Short-Term Certificates: (Less than 16 credit hours); Technical Certificates: A (16-29 credit hours), B (30-44 credit hours), C (45-59 credit hours); and Associate Degrees (60+ credit hours).

Programs at our public post-secondary institutions support our diverse industries with graduates educated in the most current industry practices.

Technical Colleges

Kansas provides strong technical education through a network of seven public technical colleges located across the state. These colleges provide education and training for your incoming workforce and current employees.

More than 14,000 students were enrolled at our technical colleges at the beginning of the 2017 academic year.

Our technical colleges annually award over 4,200 certificates and associate degrees. Certificates include Short-Term Certificates (Less than 16 credit hours); Technical Certificates: A (16-29 credit hours), B (30-44 credit hours), C (45-59 credit hours); and Associate Degrees (60+ credit hours).


Kansas universities play a key role in the state’s economic development strategy, particularly in the crucial areas of research and continuing education.
More than 115,000 students were enrolled at Kansas universities at the beginning of the 2017 academic year.


Our six state universities and one municipal university annually award more than 22,000 Certificates, Associate Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees and Doctoral Degrees. The Kansas Board of Regents dictates credit hours for the certificate and degree programs.

University Profiles

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas (KU), with an enrollment of more than 31,000 students and 5,000 faculty members, ranks among the nation’s top 50 public universities and is one of just 34 public schools in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has a strong research portfolio, with many opportunities available to partner with businesses. It’s also considered one of the nation’s best college buys, with tuition below the majority of its research university peers.

KU’s main campus is in Lawrence, while the KU Medical Center is in Kansas City. There are also KU campuses in Overland Park, Salina and Wichita, and educational and research centers in Garden City, Hays, Parsons, Pittsburg, Topeka and Yoder.

The university has a strong research commercialization focus, with three business incubator facilities located in Lawrence and at the KU Medical Center housing both university startups and companies eager to partner with researchers at the university. Externally funded research at all KU campuses grew to $257.4 million in FY 2018 and continues to grow each year.

Access to leaders in their disciplines is demonstrated by KU’s graduate programs, 48 of which are ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report. Special education and city management/urban policy programs each rank first among public university programs.

In addition, students choosing KU are eligible for new, four-year renewable scholarships for freshmen and two-year scholarships for transfer students, based on academic performance. This means prospective students can visit and know what scholarships they qualify for even before they apply. KU’s in-state tuition and fees are the 28th lowest among the 34 public members of the Association of American Universities.

What you may not know about the University of Kansas:

  • The School of Pharmacy is ranked No. 4 by the National Institutes of Health for amount of grant-funded research, the only Big 12 program in the top 10.
  • The KU School of Medicine was ranked a top five school nationally for fulfilling its social mission to train primary care physicians to work in underrepresented areas. The school expanded its two-year program at the Wichita campus into a four-year program and opened a new Salina campus designed specifically to train doctors for careers in rural communities.
  • The University of Kansas Cancer Center earned National Cancer Institute designation in June 2012. NCI-designated Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific excellence and are awarded federal funding through a rigorous peer review process.

Kansas State University

Kansas State University (K-State) is a major comprehensive public research university with a faculty of more than 1,150 and an enrollment of more than 26,000 students. Named one of the best public universities in America, K-State’s three-campus system (Manhattan, Olathe and Salina) serves students across Kansas, the nation and the world with more than 250 undergraduate majors and options, 110 graduate majors and a number of undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in multiple disciplines.

K-State is a recognized leader in animal health and food safety and security, which is drawing national research centers to Manhattan: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, and the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit.

As a growing national hub for research, K-State brought in $506.4 million in extramural funding in FY 2017 through 1,400 research grants and private donations. This research expertise is getting national attention. K-State was cited as one of the reasons why Manhattan tops Forbes magazine’s list of the best small places for business and careers.

Leading publications are calling K-State one of the best colleges in the nation, including U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review’s Best 373 Colleges. And with nods from Military Advanced Education magazine and G.I. Jobs magazine, K-State is a perennial selection as one of the nation’s most military-friendly universities.

Students at K-State are among the nation’s best. K-State is the only public university over a 15-year period to rank among the top 10 of all U.S. schools in five major scholarship programs: Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater and Udall. K-State students have received a Boren Fellowship, two Fulbright awards and four National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships; a K-State team earned a national championship in debate; a K-Stater was crowned a national forensics champion and two K-State doctoral students were ranked among the top 20 in the world for their research.

K-State’s land-grant mission is thriving. The Carnegie Foundation awarded K-State the Community Engagement Classification, an honor that recognizes higher education institutions that collaborate with their larger communities and understand the benefits of a reciprocal exchange of knowledge and resources.

K-State’s commitment to sustainability is earning national recognition. K-State is the only public university in Kansas selected for The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges, and K-State has the first building at a state higher education institution to be LEED certified: the School of Leadership Studies Building earned LEED gold certification.

What you may not know about Kansas State:

  • The Princeton Review ranks K-State No. 3 for best quality of life; No. 5 for great campus and community relations; No. 5 for athletic schools; No. 7 for happiest students; No. 11 for best career services; No. 11 in the “students who pack the stadiums” category; and No. 14 for best-run colleges.
  • K-State was the first land-grant university in the nation to offer classes and the first public university in Kansas.
  • K-State is the only research and doctoral university in the nation with three CASE/Carnegie U.S. professors of the year, all of whom teach undergraduate classes.
  • K-State is the most popular college choice among Kansas high school seniors.

Wichita State University

Wichita State University (WSU) is a comprehensive urban-serving research university of more than 17,000 students and nearly 700 faculty in Wichita. WSU offers graduate (master’s and doctorate) and undergraduate degree programs in six colleges and 39 academic departments.

WSU offers more than 60 undergraduate degree programs in more than 200 areas of study in six undergraduate colleges. The graduate school offers an extensive program, including 44 master’s degrees in more than 100 areas.

The university is classified as an “R2: Research Universities (higher research activity)” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It offers internationally recognized research programs in aviation and advanced materials. WSU is a training partner for the National Center for Aviation Research. Being a part of WSU gives NIAR a distinct advantage, having an excellent academic connection from which to draw the most outstanding aviation researchers. The university’s research programs attracted more approximately $105 million in external funding in 2018.

WSU’s cooperative education program, which offers students the opportunity to earn credit along with job experience, is among the largest and most successful of its kind in the Midwest. Students are placed not only in local companies, but also at national organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

What you may not know about Wichita State:

  • Via Christi Health System and WSU researchers have partnered to create the Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopedic Research (CIBOR) in Wichita. CIBOR’s goals include: development of medical devices that can be quickly brought to market, such as surgical instruments, stretchers and operating tables that do not require a long FDA-approval process; and longer-term development of advanced implantable devices, such as artificial hips and knees.
  • NIAR is a Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research and the headquarters for the Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials.
  • Other government organizations have also designated NIAR as a research hub. NASA sponsors the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance, located within NIAR, and the National Science Foundation has named WSU/NIAR as a Center for Friction Stir Processing.

Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg State University (PSU) is a comprehensive regional university providing more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs in its College of Arts and Sciences, Kelce College of Business, College of Education and College of Technology. PSU has an enrollment of more than 8,500 and is located in Pittsburg.

Students who choose PSU find a traditional campus atmosphere and strong accredited programs in a wide variety of fields at an affordable price. Under the university’s flat-rate tuition plan, cost-conscious full-time students pay one rate, regardless of how many hours they carry.

In addition to strong pre-professional programs in the health sciences, the university boasts AACSB accreditation for its Kelce College of Business and NCATE accreditation for its highly regarded teacher education programs in its College of Education.

PSU’s College of Technology is a special point of pride for the university and is home to more than 30 nationally known programs in engineering technology, automotive technology, construction management and construction engineering technologies, graphics and imaging technologies and technology and workforce learning. Some of the programs, such as Plastics Engineering Technology, are ranked among the top in the nation.

PSU is also the home of the Kansas Polymer Research Center, which specializes in research on bio-based polyols used to replace petroleum products in manufacturing. KPRC scientists were honored by the National Academy of Sciences with the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

What you may not know about Pittsburg State:

  • Pittsburg State’s plastics, automotive and wood technology programs are among the only programs of their type in the nation.
  • PSU’s Kelce College of Business is one of only around 100 schools in the country to earn the Information Systems Security certification from the Committee on National Security Systems. It is one of 28 colleges that offer a program in Endorsed Internal Auditing.
  • The job placement rate for Pittsburg State nursing graduates is typically around 100 percent.

Emporia State University

Emporia State University (ESU), located in Emporia, enrolls more than 7,100. ESU was named a Tier 1 university in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges.” The school offers a high level of individual academic instruction from faculty and offers excellent career services. ESU’s Teachers College is highly regarded and was named one of the four model teacher preparation programs in the nation.

Its Professional Development School model of elementary teacher training, similar to physician residency programs, was held up by the U.S. Department of Education as a model for the 21st century.

ESU is home to the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence, which works to enhance the quality of education in Kansas through research, training and policy analysis.

What you may not know about Emporia State:

  • The William Allen White Children’s Book Award Program, the first statewide reader’s choice award in the nation, was established at ESU in 1952.
  • ESU does not charge by the credit hour. A full-time student may take 10 or more hours and not have to pay any additional tuition. Emporia State University is one of only two Regents universities in Kansas offering this great flat rate.
  • The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program develops and improves students’ leadership skills, and connects them with practical experiences.
  • ESU’s School of Business was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the least expensive graduate program for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a regional comprehensive university with more than 17,500 students and approximately 450 faculty. FHSU is located in Hays, which has been recognized as the third-best college town in America among small cities.

FHSU is known for its innovation and entrepreneurship. Among the universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system, FHSU has the unique mission to integrate computer and telecommunications technology with the educational environment and the workplace. Through its Department of Informatics, FHSU serves as both a local and regional academy for Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

The U.S. government has designated the university a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected the university for its Community Engagement Classification in both the Curricular Engagement category and the Outreach and Partnerships category.

FHSU serves as administrator of the Kansas Small Business Development Center network, which is a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Kansas Department of Commerce. Also, FHSU’s Docking Institute of Public Affairs facilitates effective decision-making among governmental and nonprofit leaders through applied research, training and strategic planning.

With the lowest tuition in the region, FHSU offers its students hands-on learning with close attention from faculty that prepares them with a global perspective, professional skills and confidence to pursue successful careers. Students can pursue majors in more than 30 academic departments in four colleges and a Graduate School. In addition to classes on the Hays campus, FHSU has an international presence with more than 4,000 students from nearly all 50 states and several foreign nations enrolled in its Virtual College. In addition, FHSU has about 3,500 students at partner universities in China.

What you may not know about Fort Hays State:

  • FHSU was the first American university to be approved by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China to offer dual bachelor’s degrees under the framework of the Sino-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools.
  • With more than 30 award-winning programs offered worldwide, FHSU’s Virtual College is a global leader in online education. FHSU is proud to have partnerships with every branch of the U.S. military.

Washburn University

Washburn University (WU), located in Topeka, is a municipal university enrolling more than 7,700 students. Through the College of Arts and Sciences and schools of Law, Business, Nursing and Applied Studies, Washburn students have access to more than 200 programs of study. Graduate degrees are also offered at Washburn, and the law school is nationally ranked. The Washburn School of Business has earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the oldest and largest business school accreditation organization in the world. With a low student-faculty ratio of 16- to-1, students receive personalized, quality education from a qualified staff.

More than 83 percent of the faculty members hold a doctoral degree or the highest degree available in their fields. WU is home to the Mulvane Art Museum, the oldest accredited art museum west of the Mississippi, and to KTWU, the first public television station in Kansas. The University provides state-of-the-art integrated educational and residential centers for 800 students. Learning at Washburn is facilitated by extensive computer, video and teleconferencing capabilities within meeting and seminar rooms.

What you may not know about Washburn:

  • Washburn is annually ranked as one of the best colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.
  • For four consecutive years, the School of Business was named an outstanding business school by The Princeton Review and was listed in the 2011 edition of Best 300 Business Schools.
  • Washburn University School of Law was named an outstanding law school by The Princeton Review in the 2011 edition of Best 172 Law Schools. The Legal Analysis, Research and Writing Program at the law school was ranked 13th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Contact Us

Susan NeuPoth Cadoret Director, Business & Community Development Email (785) 296-5298 LinkedIn

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