More students than ever before are attending Fort Hays State University.

The university announced yet another all-time headcount record for the 20th day of the fall semester — Sept. 14 — with 14,210 students.

“We expect to grow because our outreach initiatives and our combination of an excellent faculty, outstanding academic programs and dedicated staff make Fort Hays State the best choice for people who want all the benefits that higher education can bring,” said Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president. “However, we do not take our growth for granted. The dedication, hard work and expertise of our faculty and staff make us the destination of choice.”

FHSU delivers college courses to students on the Hays campus, in its Virtual College and to students at partner universities in China.

The enrollment number represents a 2.8 percent from last year’s 13,825.

The Kansas Board of Regents uses the 20th day of classes as a standard basis for comparison from year to year.

The headcount of FHSU students at partner universities in China this fall is 3,124. Last fall it was 3,165 students, a decrease of 41 students.

That continues a slight decline in enrollment in China, resulting at least in part from a downturn in the Chinese economy. The government pays tuition for its students in the partner Chinese universities, but the students have to pay their own tuition to earn FHSU degrees.

On-campus headcount this fall is 4,763 students, a decrease of 37 students.

Ironically, the improving U.S. economy likely explains that decline. Students typically leave college to join the workforce during economic upturns.

Headcount this fall in the Virtual College is 6,323 students, an increase of 463 students compared to last fall.

That’s a 7.9 percent increase.

The Virtual College offers college classes at different locations and online.

Despite the official count day, the university noted another 112 new international partner enrollments had arrived.

“Additional enrollments are still being processed due to our international partnerships starting their semesters after the FHSU start date,” said Joey Linn, student affairs vice president. “Increases don’t happen by accident. Besides offering high quality at an affordable cost, we also offer students an extraordinarily safe and friendly campus, with beautiful facilities and the most modern equipment.”