Other Missouri universities report enrollment climb amid MU student drop

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COLUMBIA – Many four-year universities in Missouri are reporting a spike in enrollment, even as the University of Missouri’s enrollment dropped this fall.

Some universities, like Missouri State University, are experiencing an increase in students this year. The associate vice president for enrollment management at MSU said the Springfield campus is busier than years past.

“We are up 773 students from last year, which is a 3.8 percent increase,” Don Simpson said. “After official numbers come in in a few weeks, we expect that number to considerably top that at over 23,000.”

The Missouri S & T website said, "First-day enrollment of 8,640 students at Missouri University of Science and Technology is the highest in the campus’ 146-year history.”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City said it isn’t releasing numbers for a few weeks, but its website boasts the addition of 1,151 new freshmen and 1,040 transfer students for fall 2016.

The University of Missouri News Bureau reported 32,777 students were enrolled on the first day of class, which is a 6.5 percent  drop from last year’s enrollment of 35,050. 

Many people cite last year's racial protests, led by Concerned Student 1950, as a reason for the drop.

“I figured that whenever the protests were happening that more black people would leave Mizzou and that all types of people would be scared,” MU student Davion Thomas said.

For Thomas, the racial protests gave him incentive to enroll.

“It made me want to go to Mizzou even more because I knew that there would be so many other people who would leave,” Thomas said.

Some students say MU stood out because of the protests, but that didn’t deter them from becoming Tigers.

“My classmates from senior year would be like ‘oh, like the school with the protests,’ and obviously I had a couple of stereotypes to go along with it,” freshman Kaitlyn Weir said. “But being on campus, there’s no real difference from this and any other school.”

Another freshman said she thinks most of the tension at MU has settled.

“There’s been nothing but positivity,” Hailey Contine said. “We haven’t seen any remains of all the stuff that happened, so everything seems to be picked up pretty well.”

School officials said final census numbers for enrollment in Missouri won’t be released until the end of September or beginning of October.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the university is changing things in an attempt to attract more students next fall, but has not given specific details.