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MU enrollment up as university targets out-of-state students

Monday, August 22, 2011 | 8:20 p.m. CDT
Students fought crowds and long lines at the MU Bookstore on the first day back from summer break. A record 20,000 visitors came through the bookstore on Monday, said Public Relations Manager for Student Auxiliary Services Michelle Froese.

COLUMBIA — More out-of-state freshmen have come to MU this year, but the number of in-state freshmen has declined. This reflects both a downward trend in the number of Missouri high school graduates and an effort by MU to recruit out-of-state students, a campus leader says.

First-day figures from MU show:

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  • 6,168 freshmen, up eight from the first day of classes last year.
  • 4,243 of those are in-state students, down 166 from last year.
  • 1,925 are out-of-state students, up 174 from last year. 

“We recruited exactly the class that we wanted,” said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment management. “We were able to maintain our number, even though there were fewer Missouri high school graduates this year.”

There were about 2,000 fewer high school graduates in Missouri compared with last year, Korschgen said. The number is expected to drop another 7,000 students by 2014.

Korschgen said MU has enhanced its out-of-state recruitment efforts by changing its scholarship policy. She pointed to the Mark Twain Nonresident Scholarship, which is awarded based on class rankings and ACT scores, as one way to attract out-of-state students.

Although the university is strategically going after more out-of-state students, MU spokesman Christian Basi said applicants are not competing with one another.

“Each student is judged on their own academic achievement when it comes to admissions," Basi said. "We don’t have a certain number of students for every academic year.”

Having more out-of-state students brings financial benefits to the university, because nonresidents pay an additional fee per credit — $426.50 for undergraduates and $516.80 for graduate students, according to the Office of Cashiers website.

Basi said MU expects to take in $308 million in tuition in the 2012 fiscal year, up from $274 million in 2011.

First-day figures for the university also show:

  • A record-setting 33,318 students are enrolled at MU, up by 1,300 students from last year.
  • 25,814 are undergraduates, up 1,055 from last year.
  • 6,268 are graduate students, up 224 from last year.

The tallies usually grow during the first few weeks of class, Korschgen said. Official enrollment is measured on the 20th day of classes. 

More African-American, Hispanic students

Another highlight of the first-day enrollment figures at MU is an increase in the number of African-American students: 2,231, up 205 from last year.

The number of Hispanic students also increased by 100, totaling 882.

These figures are based on self-reporting by students.

The number of African-American students is a record for the university. The increase is part of an upward trend over the past 10 years, said Noor Azizan-Gardner, director of programming and professional development in the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative.

Azizan-Gardner said the steady increase might be due to recruiting efforts in areas such as Texas and Chicago.

Korschgen was pleased to note that this year, the mean ACT score for freshmen was 25.7, which she said is an increase over last year and the second highest in the university’s history.

Opening day at Stephens, Columbia colleges

Monday was also the first day of classes for Stephens and Columbia colleges.

The first-day estimate for the number of students at Stephens is 1,030, said Amy Gipson, vice president for marketing and public relations. That's down by about 100 from 2010, Gipson said. About 260 are graduate students.

Columbia College is based in Columbia, but has 34 locations nationwide. School leaders think of it as one institution. Including online students, total enrollment this year is 17,095, a 1.6 percent increase over last year, said Brandi Hermann, associate director of public relations.

Excluding online students, the Columbia campus has 2,312 day and evening students this year, Hermann said.


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