Preliminary figures show sharp drop in MU enrollment
COLUMBIA — Preliminary totals released by the University of Missouri on Monday show a decrease in student enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester.
32,777 students are currently enrolled, down from over 35,000 students for the Fall 2015 semester.
A drop in enrollment was not unexpected. Last spring, Interim MU Chancellor Hank Foley anticipated 1,500 fewer students. In May, the Associated Press reported an expected plunge of 2,600. Based on Monday's figures, the final number will likely fall somewhere in between.
Fewer enrolled students means less total tuition revenue - a shortfall paired with additional budget cuts from the Missouri General Assembly. The cuts were approved after some state lawmakers expressed anger with the unviersity's handling of racially-charged protests last fall, a tumultuous period which resulted in the resignations of UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
However, any state-imposed budget cuts for the University of Missouri System were outweighed by an overall increase in performance-based funding across public colleges in the state.
The enrollment decrease is due in part to a smaller freshman class, as the university is also claiming its third-highest retention rate in school history. Less than 4,800 freshmen are enrolled for the fall.
University administration may still have cause for optimism, as MU claims its incoming freshman class boasts the highest ACT scores of any previous class.