As the University of Missouri in Columbia stares down its second year of an enrollment decline, the school’s recipe for boosting enrollment isn’t to roll out new initiatives; it’s to double down on past efforts.
Enrollment declines last year were particularly concentrated in minority, low-income and rural students, data show, but officials still point to demographic trends and reverberations of the Concerned Student 1950 protests in 2015 to explain this year’s decline.
Although MU administrators have said a declining population of high school graduates and continued complaints about the 2015 protests have affected enrollment, data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show universities, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, have declining enrollments and a declining high school graduate pool, but several are using new strategies, including tuition matching and first-generation student recruitment. Universities using these strategies say they’ve worked.
Chuck May, the director of MU’s admissions office, said he and his staff aren’t targeting any particular population with their August recruitment efforts. He said the whole state sends fewer MU students, so his admissions staff is reaching out more to the whole state.
MU projected that about 4,000 first-time college students will enroll in August.
Read more: Columbia Missourian