The University of Missouri in Columbia remains the state’s flagship university, but Missouri State University is the school with enrollment momentum.
And Missouri State President Clif Smart has a clear goal: “We want to be the undergraduate choice for Missouri.”
His plan might be working. The Springfield school has seen steady, continuous enrollment growth for 18 of the past 20 years. With more than 23,500 students last school year — 85 percent of them Missouri residents — Missouri State is the second-largest public university in the state.
Much of that growth is from the St. Louis region, where the school has snagged up 20, 30 and even 40 percent more students by county this year than four years ago, with St. Charles County showing the largest recruitment gains.
Arguably, the school’s most recent gains have come at the expense of the University of Missouri, whose enrollment has sunk following racial discord and leadership upheaval in 2015.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch