As school year comes to a close, MU ramps up recruitment

MU has hired four more admission representatives for different regions of the country.

The Columns, with Jesse Hall in the background, glow at dusk on Feb. 15.

This past March, MU estimated that 1,500 fewer students would enroll this coming fall than last year, but the university is doing everything it can to boost enrollment for this fall and the future.

Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced in a letter to staff that MU’s budget for next year would be $32 million short due to the enrollment decline. To combat the decreased enrollment, Foley announced a hiring freeze and a 5 percent budget cut across all departments.

However, the cuts won’t impact recruiting efforts, interim Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Barbara Rupp said.

“The hiring freeze and budget cuts have not affected recruitment, as it is understood that recruitment efforts must continue,” Rupp said in an email.

Rupp also said many individual schools have been reaching out to students with personal calls and emails and that more faculty and students have participated in their yield events this year. She anticipates that those programs will continue to be in place for the class of 2021.

Foley also announced in the letter that MU would be implementing several recruitment initiatives to attract more prospective students. Rupp said MU has hired four new admissions representatives who will be in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Admissions representatives meet with prospective students at high schools and college fairs and develop recruitment strategies for their assigned area, according to MU’s Human Resource Services website.

“We already do some recruiting in three of those cities, but have never had the opportunity to have a full-time representative living there,” Rupp said. “We anticipate that this will help our non-resident recruiting efforts.”

In a March Faculty Council meeting, Rupp did not address whether the events of last semester impacted the decreased deposits but did admit that they may have played a role in the decreased enrollment projection.

“While we do not think that the campus unrest was the only factor, we certainly believe that it was a factor in our decreased deposits,” Rupp said. “This seems to be particularly true out-of-state, where many families were not able to come to campus, or return to campus, and relied only on what they were able to see in the media.”

But Rupp is confident that the recruiting efforts will yield positive results. She has been particularly encouraged by the faculty’s response to help recruiting.

“The faculty response has been very positive and they have been more than willing to assist with recruiting students to Mizzou,” Rupp said. “I expect that this will continue with more coordinated efforts next fall and beyond. Students seem to enjoy receiving a phone call or an email from faculty, and faculty have been delighted to have personal conversations with prospective new students.”

Journalism professor Berkley Hudson has been making some personal calls to prospective students. He said he has made calls and sent emails in years before, but this year was the first time that he did it formally for admissions. As a parent who has sent two kids to college, Hudson said he understands that fit is the most important aspect.

“My main job is to listen very carefully to what the prospective student is saying and to see whether there’s a possible fit,” Hudson said. “And if there is, my job is to answer questions to make sure that Mizzou is a great fit.”

While he did receive some information to talk about with students, Hudson said that he already knows what to say and what to listen for.

“(MU has) always been a great place to be a journalism student, but I’m saying right now, there ain’t no better place to be a journalism student,” Hudson said. “The world knows who Mizzou is now. They think whatever they think, but we’ve got their attention. We have the opportunity to be a global leader in race relations, teaching, service and economic development.”

Edited by Taylor Blatchford | tblatchford@themaneater.com

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