The Maneater

MU amongst top of SEC in enrollment

The university has a record retention rate with 87.3 percent of students returning to MU.

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Last year, an article was published in The New York Times discussing MU’s drop in enrollment after the events of 2015. Now, enrollment is back up by 13 percent.

While many schools in the SEC saw a decline, MU saw a double digit increase in freshmen enrollment. MU is one of two schools to have this increase in the past year, with Louisiana State University being the other.

“To achieve double digit increase in enrollment right now when so many universities are struggling to break even really show that our efforts are paying off,” MU spokesperson Liz McCune said.

In 2017, MU welcomed 4,134 freshmen. This year, the university welcomed 4,673 (freshmen are defined as “first-time college students.”)

“It has been a concerted effort for the university for the last couple of years to focus on enrollment increase,” McCune said. “Our enrollment has dropped and we want to strategically add students back to the university.”

This freshman class is also “more diverse and academically gifted” than previous classes, according to the MU News Bureau. The university has a record retention rate with 87.3 percent of students returning to MU. First-time college student minority enrollment is up from 778 in 2017 to 1,015 in 2018. There is a large spike in enrollment among African Americans, Hispanics and those who identify as multiracial.

In terms of academics, MU is currently above average on standardized tests. The MU ACT average is a 26, which is better than both the national and state averages, which are 21 and 20.4, respectively.

The positive trend in academic statistics offers a solid selling point to students and can increase enrollment even more. Some students are feeling more confident knowing their peer’s scores are above average.

“I really appreciate the fact that knowing I am surrounded with kids that truly care about their education and standardized testing,” freshman Miles Berger said. “It is comforting to know that I will have help from people around me if needed.”

In the past year, MU has taken great measures to bring in new students. MU has introduced new scholarship and affordability initiatives. The university has created a five-year plan to increase engagement, which was announced by Chancellor Alexander Cartwright recently.

MU had to shut down six dorms at one point due to a drop in enrollment. Now, a new dorm has been officially named and all six dorms have been re-opened.

“We will not take for granted the trust that is placed in us to prepare future leaders or to provide solutions to the challenges facing Missourians,” Cartwright told the News Bureau. “From building the economy to discovering lifesaving medical advances to serving all 114 counties of the state, we strive to be the University for Missouri.”

MU officials are proud of the increase and are starting to see the hard work they have done payoff.

“A strong retention rate speaks to the effectiveness of the learning environment we offer,” Latha Ramchand, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in an MU news briefing in August. “It’s gratifying to see that our students are excelling inside and outside the classroom, connecting with researchers in the lab and with leaders in the community.”

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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