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COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri announced on Friday the school will see yet another decline in incoming freshman enrollment.

MU officials estimate about 4,000 freshmen will enroll in August. The projection is based on the 4,009 students who have paid enrollment deposits for the fall semester.

That is a drop of 799 students from 2016 and 2,211 from 2015.

University officials say despite the lower numbers, the class’s high test scores are still a good sign for the school’s future.

“The average ACT of our incoming freshman class will be above 25.5, which tells us that some of the brightest students in Missouri know that Mizzou will help them with their career goals,” said Pelema Morrice, vice provost for Enrollment Management

Officials also pointed to MU’s high retention rate of 94 percent from fall to spring of this school year, saying the school expects to hold on to many of the incoming students.

Scores aside, a drop in enrollment will affect more than just what dorms stay open.

Columbia businesses will likely see a decrease in customers due to the high reliance on college students.

Nick Peckham, who serves on the city’s Downtown Columbia Leadership Council for local businesses, says it’s hard to imagine the continuing enrollment drop will not negatively impact the city's businesses.

“The biggest dog in the city is of course the university and what happens to the university happens to everybody,” Peckham said.

University officials said students could continue to enroll throughout the summer, so the projection could change between now and August.

 

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