The University of Missouri reported a retention rate of 87.3 percent for last year’s freshman class as the fall semester began Monday in Columbia. That marks the highest retention figure in university history, according to a university press release.
Still, total enrollment at the university fell from 30,567 to 29,443, a decrease of about 3.7 percent, the university reported.
Meanwhile, at Missouri State University, the state’s second largest university, total enrollment was basically flat after six straight years of increases and an enrollment record in 2017.
MSU welcomed 21,309 students for the new semester, according to a university release. That’s down 42 students, or a fraction of a percentage point, from last year.
The Springfield school has been unambiguous about its enrollment ambitions in recent years, with MSU President Clif Smart saying at the start of last year that the school wants to be “the undergraduate choice for Missouri.”
At MU, freshman enrollment was 4,696, according to the school, up 13.1 percent from last year.
The retention rate, which measures how many of last year’s freshmen are back for the new year, was 86.6 percent last year.
After registering record enrollment numbers in the first part of the decade, the university has seen some enrollment figures sag following racial tension and student protests on campus in 2015 that drew national attention.