Despite MU’s decline in enrollment, other Missouri universities see increase
UM-Kansas City is expecting a 5.52 percent increase in enrollment, while MU expects a 24 percent decline.
Aug. 01, 2016
Enrollment reports from other Missouri universities show that while MU is facing a significant decline in enrollment for fall 2016, other schools expect an increase.
Universities across the state, including Truman State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri State University, UM-Kansas City and Missouri University of Science and Technology are either sustaining previous years’ numbers or slowly increasing their acceptance or enrollment numbers, according to data reports published at the end of the spring 2016 semester.
“Our freshman applications and admissions have shown an increase over the previous year going back to September 2015,” Jennifer DeHaemers, UMKC’s associate vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, said in an email.
In comparison to 2015, UMKC has seen a 5.52 percent increase in enrollment, and they’re not alone. Missouri S&T has seen a 1.3 percent increase, Missouri State University has seen approximately a 2 percent increase and Truman State University’s enrollment has remained steady. Southeast Missouri State University's admittance rate for first-time students was 14 percent higher this year than in 2015. Deborah Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success at SEMO, said in an email that the increase in acceptances may lead to an increase in fall enrollment. However, as of May 2016, projected fall enrollment numbers had not been calculated there.
The only other Missouri university facing a declining enrollment rate is UM-Saint Louis, which is seeing a 12.8 percent decrease in enrollment compared to last year.
But MU is facing an approximately 24 percent decline in enrollment from the same time last year, according to a May 2016 enrollment memo. This number is based off of the $300 enrollment fees submitted by incoming freshmen by May 1.
It cannot be said exactly what has caused the decline in enrollment at MU, but there are several possibilities, MU spokesman Christian Basi said in an email.
Basi credits demographic declines in the Midwest, competition from other universities and the events of last fall for the decline.
DeHaemers said in the email that she does not believe there is a correlation between UMKC’s increase and MU’s decrease in enrollment.
She credits UMKC’s increase to student success.
“Our strategic plan has as its first goal to place student success at the center,” DeHaemers said in the email. “As a result, there are a number of initiatives in progress that address student persistence and completion.”
Because of these initiatives and improvements, DeHaemers said, UMKC is experiencing its first enrollment increases for both freshmen and transfer students in several years.
While MSU will not be seeing a significant increase in freshmen enrollment for fall 2016, their numbers are still higher than ever before, according to MSU’s 2015 enrollment history report. Between the fall of 2014 and 2015, MSU saw a 13 percent rise in enrollment, and between 2012 and 2015, a 27 percent increase in enrollment.
“We have a lot to offer,” said Don Simpson, MSU associate vice president for enrollment management and services.
Simpson said that strong and growing academic programs, added facilities, the university’s new recreation center and the university’s health center, whose construction will begin this fall, are all factors that lead freshmen to choose MSU. He credited all of these improvements to MSU President Clif Smart.
Simpson said that services such as MSU’s campuswide shuttle system and free admission to sporting events are benefits MSU offers their students that other schools don’t.
He also noted that cost is a major factor in drawing students to MSU, and said that the university is committed to keeping costs low while also providing quality programs and services.
The approximate cost for a first-time, in-state student to attend MSU in fall 2016 is $16,448, while the approximate cost to attend MU is $25,514.
While MU prepares for a semester with fewer students than in the past, university officials maintain a positive outlook and continue to work to provide an educational experience for all students.
“As students are registering for classes during Summer Welcome, we’re watching the numbers very closely so we can ensure that we are utilizing our resources in the best way possible and that our students will have the quality educational experience they expect,” Basi said in an email.
Edited by Claire Mitzel | firstname.lastname@example.org