First-day enrollment at MU increased 0.3 percent over fall 2006, despite a record number of first-time freshmen.
The number of first-time freshmen increased 3.3 percent, pushing the number over 5,000 for the first time in MU’s history, according to a news release issued Monday.
Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment management, said that the quality of the university was one reason for the increase in freshmen.
“There’s no doubt students are attracted to our academic programs,” she said.
Other factors include prospective students’ satisfaction with campus visits and evidence that MU graduates are successful upon entering the workforce, she said.
The 0.3 percent increase in overall enrollment — a total of 90 students — is the lowest at MU in years. Between 2001 and 2005, MU averaged annual growth of 2.75 percent.
One reason, Korschgen said, is the large number of students who graduated in May. The university conferred 5,401 degrees in May, 830 more than were conferred during the May 2006 commencement.
The increase in first-time freshmen at MU comes at a time when the number of Missouri high school students attending college is statistically flat. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reports that the number of high school graduates entering a four year public institution, such as MU, has remained stagnant since 2002, hovering between 38 and 40 percent.
MU also reported Monday that the university’s retention rate, or the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year, increased from 83.9 percent in 2006 to 84.7 percent this year. Korschgen said the university does not track rates for other years.
While MU accepted a record number of graduate school applications for this fall, the graduate student enrollment increased 1.8 percent from last year.
The figures released Monday are an estimate, Korschgen said. Official enrollment numbers will be available after the 20th day of classes.