Despite the pandemic, MU freshman enrollment deposits are comparable to last year’s numbers.

By May 1, or what’s known around the country as “decision day,” more than 5,400 incoming students paid their enrollment deposits, MU spokesperson Christian Basi said.

“We consider this to be a very stable, flat number at the moment,” Basi said. “Given the current situation, we’re very pleased with where we’re at right now.”

Last May, MU announced an unofficial freshman enrollment of 5,460 following decision day.

By the fall, that number had changed to 5,431, a 16% increase from fall 2018 freshman enrollment.

MU has also pushed back its enrollment deposit deadline from the usual May 1 to June 1. Inside Higher Ed reported Friday that more than 400 colleges had announced a similar extension.

Basi said the hope is that the number of deposits will grow a bit by June 1.

“It is possible once we get a little closer that we might see some folks deciding that they’re not going to enroll this year at Mizzou,” he said. “It could go either way.”

MU made the extension to allow more prospective students and families to possibly tour the campus, Basi said.

“We had several students who were concerned about not wanting to put down a deposit without having an opportunity to visit the campus,” Basi said.

“We knew, and they knew, that May 1 was not going to be a deadline where we would even have a remote chance of opening up the campus.”

The June 1 deadline versus a later deadline was set to give MU an idea of freshman enrollment and adequate time to use the information to prepare for fall, Basi said.

Although the campus is largely closed, MU leaders hope prospective students will have the opportunity to visit campus this month if only informally, Basi said.

In-person tours are not being offered — though virtual ones are — and buildings remain closed to the public.

“If an individual is practicing appropriate social distancing, our public sidewalks are wide enough for an individual to come on campus,” Basi said.

“We do not want people gathering in large groups. We want them paying close attention to the orders given by the county.”

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, spring 2020. Studying news reporting. Reach me at lge7kn@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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