Incoming freshman class size consistent with projected decline

This fall, however, the retention rate is the third-highest in university history.

The decline in freshman enrollment for this school year is consistent with the drop projected in May, according to a university news release Monday.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said in an interview that the university has been expecting a decline for many years. The total undergraduate enrollment for this year, according to Monday’s reports, includes 25,627 students, 4,799 of which are incoming freshman, Basi said in the news release. This matches projections from the May memo, which confirmed a freshman class of fewer than 5,000 students

MU’s retention rate is also the third-highest since the founding of the university in 1839.

The retention rate, which measures how many students of a freshman class return for a second year, is 85.4 percent. The highest retention rate, 87.1 percent, occurred in 2015, and the second-highest, 86 percent, was in 2014.

“That trend, of having the three highest retention rates in the history of the university over the last three years, is very encouraging, telling us we’re doing the right things,” Basi said. “And it’s telling us that students are returning to Mizzou because they believe that Mizzou is a quality academic institution and it can provide them with the skills, the tools and the resources that they need to be successful in their chosen career field.”

The average ACT score of this incoming freshman class was 26.0, a score that ties with last year’s average score as the highest average ACT score in the university’s history.

“We’re very, very pleased with how the quality of the freshman class continues to increase and has done so over the past several years,” Basi said. “And it’s very interesting to note because our admissions requirements have not changed.”

Additionally, 134 freshmen were valedictorians of their high school classes. Of the freshman class, “29 percent ranks in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school classes and more than 50 percent rank in the top 20 percent of their graduating classes,” Basi said in the news release.

Along with high retention rates and ACT scores, the news release also mentions the Mizzou Pride Pledge, a new initiative “that was developed by a committee of faculty, staff and students” who were “charged with better aligning our culture with our core values,” Basi said.

The pledge, which every member of the MU community is being asked to sign, defines the university’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence.

“These statements are mere words until we integrate them as values in our individual lives and reflect them in our institutional policies and practices,” according to the MU website.

Edited by Emily Gallion |

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