MU Says Enrollment Cap is "Last Resort"

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COLUMBIA - Media relations officials at MU said Thursday talk of an enrollment cap on the Columbia campus is premature and being blown out of proportion by media reports.

University of Missouri system leaders mentioned an enrollment cap last month when discussing ways to save money. Curators believe a cap could be the answer to budget pressures.  Governor Jay Nixon cut 4.4 million dollars from the UM budget this year. 

The University's flagship campus in Columbia had over 32,000 students enrolled last year.  That number is expected to increase by more than 1000 in the fall.  MU's enrollment has increased almost every year of the last ten.

But Thursday, MU officials said the enrollment cap is a "last resort," and they hope to find other solutions for budget problems.  MU News Bureau Director Mary Jo Banken said there are about six other plans the curators are considering, but she does not remember what they are. 

Banken said in the past, MU has cut back on repairs to save money.  She said the university has not made any major repairs in the past two years, and there are 500 million dollars worth of repairs they can't afford to make without additional state funding.

Banken said MU will only cap enrollment if it gets to a point where the school cannot continue offering students a high caliber education.

"We would consider capping enrollment if it gets to the point where we can't maintain buildings, faculty, and classrooms," said Banken. 

Banken also added that even if the curators were to seriously discuss an enrollment cap, it would likely not happen for years.  She also said that implementing an enrollment cap would create another battle.  A cap would force a change in MU's admission process and school officials would have to create new guidelines for automatic admission.