Freshman enrollment has dropped for a second consecutive fall semester

This fall, however, the retention rate is the second highest in university history.
Lane Burdette / Graphic Designer

Freshman enrollment at MU for fall 2017 was about 4,100 on the first day of classes. By this time last year, around 700 more incoming freshmen had enrolled.

This drop in enrollment is slightly less significant than the university’s May projection of 4,000 freshmen expected to enroll.

Over the past two years, freshman class sizes at MU have shrunk drastically. In fall 2015, over 6,000 freshman students enrolled.

“A class of this size gives us the ability to think carefully about our long-term enrollment planning,” said Garnett Stokes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, in a May press release. “As part of our planning process, we will be determining the optimum freshman class size for Fall 2018 and future years. This will help us develop and create strong and renewable resources, targeting our students’ best interests as we educate the future leaders of our state and nation.”

In April, Stokes announced the creation of the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, which was charged with creating strategic efforts and policy initiatives to further enrollment goals.

Official enrollment numbers will not be available until after the fourth week of classes. During the first weeks of classes, some students drop and enroll, according to a press release.

86.6 percent of last year’s freshman class returned for a second year. This represents the second highest retention rate in MU’s history. The highest retention rate, 87.1 percent, was in 2015 and the third highest, 86 percent, was in 2014. “Additionally, our strong retention number, which is one of the highest among all of Missouri’s universities, shows us that students have successful academic experiences on campus,” said Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment management, in a press release. For the past three years, the average ACT score of the incoming freshman class has remained at 26. This score is higher than both the state and national averages and is the highest average ACT score in MU history, according to the press release.

“We are here for the people of this state, and we are here for our students,” Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said in the press release. “You can see this commitment in our strong retention numbers. We plan to improve these even further by expanding applied learning opportunities.”

Edited by Sarah Hallam |

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