Kansas Wesleyan University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Kansas Wesleyan University
At Kansas Wesleyan University, students learn in a small, vibrant, and caring environment that...

Kansas Wesleyan University

Salina, Kansas

At Kansas Wesleyan University, students learn in a small, vibrant, and caring environment that nurtures academic, spiritual, moral and social growth. Students can pursue their academic AND personal interests. It’s called the Power of AND, and it accentuates the importance of learning outside the classroom. Leadership, character development, relationship management, and communication are just a few life skills that are learned on the performance stages and on the fields of competition. The small campus environment and faith foundation provide a friendly, close-knit campus where every student is cared for by fellow students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Faculty are innovative educators, respected scholars, creative artists, business leaders, acclaimed performers, and active members of local and global communities. Unique internships in the nation’s capital, research opportunities at Tier-One institutions, opportunities to play in the Salina Symphony or act with the Salina Community Theatre, and a free service-learning course in the U.S. or Costa Rica, make learning just as fun and productive outside of the classroom.


Kansas Wesleyan University is a liberal arts institution located in Salina, Kansas. Founded in 1886, it maintains a covenant relationship with the United Methodist Church and is supported by the Great Plains Conference. The school’s accreditation was reaffirmed in 2007 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


The university is academically divided into six divisions and 17 departments. Courses are offered for more than 40 undergraduate majors and one graduate program, the MBA. Key programs at KWU include teacher education, sport and exercise science, criminal justice, and emergency management. Courses and degrees are offered on campus and online.


Out-of-the-classroom experiences are an integral part of the KWU experience. An active student body includes student-athletes (70%), musicians, theatre performers, nationally award-winning debaters, yearbook staff, television and radio producers and talent, student government leaders, and much more. Students are encouraged to take a Wesleyan Journey course (free or at minimal cost) that take them outside of Kansas to learn and serve in places such as Costa Rica, Italy, New York, and Florida. The core curriculum includes mandatory internships in most fields of study, and research opportunities, community engagement opportunities, and field experiences expand learning outside of the classrooms.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
665 undergraduate students
93% of undergrad students are full time
52% male 48% female
52.7% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
41 full-time faculty
79 part-time faculty
14 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
97% of first year students live on campus
61.8% of all students live on campus

School Location

Salina, with a population of 50,000, is the sixth largest city in Kansas. It has a robust theatre and arts community and a regional health care center. More than 83 restaurants and a mall provide students with dining, entertainment, and employment options. They also enjoy the bowling alley, water park, zoo, disc golf courses, health clubs, and theaters. Salina is just over an hour from Wichita, one hour from Manhattan, and less than three hours from Kansas City. Salina Regional Airport offers daily nonstop flights to Denver. The City of Salina has recently begun a $154M downtown redevelopment initiative.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences x
Common Intellectual Experiences x
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses x
Collaborative Assignments and Projects x
Undergraduate Research x
Diversity/Global Learning x
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning x
Internships/Coops/Practicums x
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience x

Retention Fall 2015

63.12% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

41% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Black or African American 9%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 0%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


Wear Purple. Be Proud.

With a focus on providing an outstanding student experience, Kansas Wesleyan University sponsors 23 intercollegiate sports participating at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level. It sponsors baseball, basketball (men and women), bowling (men and women), cross country (men and women), football, soccer (men and women), golf (men and women), tennis (men and women), indoor track and field (men and women), outdoor track and field (men and women), wrestling, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer, and competitive dance. Many sports also support junior varsity programs.

Other Information

Kansas Wesleyan University, founded in 1886, is a co-educational institution, affiliated with the United Methodist Church; however, students of all religious backgrounds are welcome and embraced. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Teacher Education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Academic Programs

Accounting, Art, Athletic Training, Biology, Biology Education, Biomedical Chemistry, Business Leadership, Business Management, Business Studies, Chemistry, Chemistry Education, Communications, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Emergency Management, Engineering Physics, English, English Education (6–12), Exercise Science,  History Education (6–12), Human Resource Management, Interdisciplinary Studies, Marketing, Mathematics, Mathematics Education (6–12), Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Physical Education (Pre K–12), Physics Education, Psychology, Psychological Services, Public Relations, Religion, Sociology, Speech, Speech and Theatre Education (6–12), Sports Management, Theatre

Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Law, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Medical, Pre-Podiatry, Pre-Mortuary Science, Pre-Respiratory Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Pre-Optometry

Graduate Program: Master of Business Administration Management

More Distinctions

  • College of Distinction

  • Kansas College of Distinction

  • Christian College of Distinction

  • The President’s Honor Roll

  • Military Friendly School

Kansas Wesleyan provides many unique enrichment opportunities for students locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

KWU is the only institution in Kansas that has a partnership with The Washington Center. Unique, semester-long internships with government and nonprofit agencies in Washington, D.C. have led to exciting networking opportunities and career placement for KWU students.


It is critical for today’s college students to have a global perspective, and KWU understands that studying abroad for a full semester is not an option for all students. Because of this, every academically qualifying student who has been at KWU for four semesters can take get academic credit in a service-learning course for free or at a low cost. These Wesleyan Journeys, often life-changing experiences, take place during breaks in places like Costa Rica, Germany, Florida, and New York City.


Research experiences enhance learning for the more than 50% of KWU students who are pursuing degrees in science-based fields. An increasing number of the University’s students are attaining competitive placements in National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). Their trailblazing projects include developing a new methodology for searching encrypted data, building a molecule to selectively target cancer cells, and creating a simulated reality controlled by hand motions.


KWU offers an excellent MBA program, giving undergraduates an easy opportunity to transition into graduate school. Several undergraduate programs, such as English, can be completed in three years, allowing students to achieve an undergraduate and graduate degree in a little more than four years. The MBA is offered both online or in a hybrid format.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries x
Choral groups x
Concert band x
Dance x
Drama/theater x
International Student Organization x
Jazz band x
Literary magazine  
Marching band x
Model UN  
Music ensembles x
Musical theater x
Pep band x
Radio station x
Student government x
Student newspaper x
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra x
Television station x
Yearbook x

Kansas Wesleyan University is characterized by excellence within its caring environment. With a student-to-faculty ratio of only 14:1, students can look forward to lively discussions and individualized instruction.


First-year students participate in a Wesleyan Experience course, a dynamic and interactive learning experience that is designed to promote social interaction both in and out of the classroom. They learn and apply new skills that help ensure their academic success, explore the history and traditions of KWU, and establish important relationships with the faculty and staff.


The Wesleyan Heritage course is taken in the student’s second year. It provides an introduction to the Wesleyan traditions as well as the heritage of United Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities. These kinds institutions help students grow in their journeys, thrive in their communities through service to others, embrace the concept of a liberal arts education, and prepare to become leaders of the future.

Liberal Arts for Professional Success

Kansas Wesleyan is strongly committed to the liberal arts tradition. Its mission for the liberal studies core curriculum is to prepare students to recognize and appreciate the wholeness of life. Students develop the skills that are important to the responsibilities of well-educated and engaged citizens. The liberal studies program provides students with a foundation for lifelong learning, responsible leadership in their communities, and meaningful service in the world.

Through this rigorous and innovative curriculum, students are armed with strong skills in writing, communication, and critical thinking, and they all have an enhanced sense of personal and global awareness. Plus, mandatory internships in most fields of study, research opportunities, community engagement opportunities, and field experiences expand their learning and lead to successful outcomes.

PERSONAL AWARENESS: Deepening one’s self-understanding, sense of personal ethics, and personal well-being. Sample courses include: personal finance, justice, leadership, interpersonal communication, and wellness.

HUMAN EXPRESSION: Awakens in students an understanding of various types of human expression, equipping them with the skills to analyze individual examples and to create their own. Sample courses include: photography, art, visual communication, music appreciation, public speaking, and scientific thought.

COMMUNITY AND WORLD EXPRESSION: Reconnects students with their communities, both locally and globally. Sample courses include: The Wesleyan Journey (free or at minimal cost) service-learning experience in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Italy; the biblical experience; inequity and stratification; spiritual care in disaster settings; and global media.

NATURAL WORLD STEWARDSHIP: Empowers students to understand, protect, and improve environment, recognizing the interactions among all facets of the natural world. Sample courses include: environmental awareness, critical thinking for a lifetime of thought, world geography, and environmental psychology.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy x
English (including composition) x
Foreign languages  
History x
Humanities x
Mathematics x
Sciences (biological or physical) x
Social science x

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 62 76 39 15 6 1 0 199

Professional Connections

Kansas Wesleyan University has been an integral part of the Salina community for 130 years. Partnerships with local businesses, agencies, and organizations provide unique experiences for students within any of the more than 40 innovative programs. Guest lecturers in business classes include experts and entrepreneurs who lead national and global companies located in Salina (Philips Lighting, Schwan’s/Tony’s Pizza, Great Plains Manufacturing). In addition, the university hosts numerous speakers throughout the year, highlighted by a Media Reflections series and an Intersections program. Speakers have included such guests as Cheryl Brown Henderson (of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education court case) and Jane Elliott (who performed the famous Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment).

Campus Ministries

The Campus Ministries team is committed to awakening, equipping, and sending students for Christ through student-driven community, discipleship, and local-to-global service. The weekly Tuesday Night Alive programs are some of the most highly attended events on campus. This student-centered, student-led service includes upbeat music, dancing, and guest speakers from the community. The Salina University United Methodist Churches, as well as the thriving campus community, traditionally welcome students back to school each year with a Worship on the Lawn Service on the quad.

Salina Support

The Salina community supports KWU’s fine arts and athletic events in full force, and many of its families openly host KWU’s out-of-town student-athletes.

Historic partnerships with organizations such as the Salina Regional Health Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Salina Arts and Humanities give students volunteer and paid opportunities to engage in the community. KWU music students can even audition to be a member of the Salina Symphony, Salina Choral, and the Salina Community Theatre.

Each year, students in the sport and exercise science program plan and facilitate a health fair that is open to the public. In addition, students have assisted with a mock poverty simulation event, a Feed my Starving Children event, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration, and two major events that mobilize the entire campus in service to the community. KWU students volunteer more than 14,000 hours of service in Salina each year.


Kansas Wesleyan is a charter member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) and a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Coyotes play in some of the finest facilities in the region, including the 1,500-seat Mabee Arena for basketball, cheer and dance, volleyball, and wrestling; and the all-new Graves Family Sports Complex for soccer, track and field, and football.

Kansas Wesleyan has won more than 60 KCAC Championships in the last ten years and has had 26 teams qualify for the NAIA National Championships. KWU is proud of its academic successes, boasting 22 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2011. The university has also been recognized as a “Champion of Character” institution by the NAIA five of the last six years. The KWU softball team received the 2016 Buffalo Funds NAIA Softball Champion of Character Team Award for volunteering more than 1,900 hours in the community during the 2015-16 academic year.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms x
Men’s dorms x
Women’s dorms x
Apartments for married students x
Apartments for single students x
Special housing for disabled students x
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  


KWU is invested in helping students achieve their best. KWU Cares is a committee of caring administrators and faculty members that supports the academic and personal well-being of students. If students are underachieving in the classroom, not attending class, or having personal concerns, KWU Cares will provide solutions to get students back on track.

Academic Services

The Albert Nelson Student Success Center provides tutoring and other assistance to students, enabling them to successfully complete their courses and improve their learning skills, particularly in English and math. Tutors provide encouragement, inspiration, and motivation to students, helping them to develop a positive attitude as well as an interest in lifelong learning. The Center also offers printing, audio-visual, and computer-based educational resources.

The Career Services team assists with resume writing workshops, networking opportunities, internships, job placement assistance, and much more.

Outstanding Alumni

Kansas Wesleyan’s alumni base of 10,000 spans the globe. Graduates are leading science and technology innovations, enriching marginalized communities with healthcare and educational programs, providing new technology in law enforcement, discovering breakthroughs in agriculture, and serving in government positions throughout the U.S. The university boasts a 97 percent placement rate in full-time jobs one year post graduation, and 100% of education graduates who pass their licensure exams are employed as teachers by graduation.


Admissions Fall 2015

818 Total Applicants
504 Total Admissions
160 Total Freshmen Enrollment

61.61% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Character/personal qualities

Rigor of secondary school record
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 430 520
SAT Math 480 550
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 24
ACT Math 18 24
ACT English 18 24
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



Tuition 28,000
Room and Board (on campus) $8,600
Room Only $3,200
Board Only $5,400
Estimated Total On Campus $36,600


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-15

$20,673 First year students
$21,474 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-15

72% on average, the percentage of need that was met
20% of financial need students that had need fully met

$8,978 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,608 Average need-based loan

Aid Information

KWU has developed an innovative program of financial assistance that makes KWU affordable for students of any income level. The Student Services team works with every student and family individually to ensure they are receiving the maximum awards as well as outstanding assistance throughout the process.

Kansas Wesleyan offers an extensive array of scholarship opportunities based on academics, activities, and need. Work-study and Graduate Assistant opportunities are also available. Scholarships for on-campus students begin at $5,000 per year and can total as much as 90% of tuition.  

Because of its comfortable size and unique approach to scholarships, KWU encourages students to participate in a variety of activities without losing money because of a change in interest or an injury. The Academic Scholarships are renewable based upon academic standards that pave the way toward the student’s graduation and future career. Students can increase or attain KWU Scholarships for future academic years based on their college GPA.