MU freshman enrollment up by 13 percent
COLUMBIA – MU is one of only two Southeastern Conference universities to experience double-digit growth in new freshmen, while several institutions saw declines in their incoming classes this fall. The announcement came in a news release from MU on Friday.
The 13 percent increase represents the second-largest jump in MU's freshman class during the past quarter-century. According to the university's official fourth-week census report, MU welcomed 4,673 first-time college students in the fall, up from 4,134 in 2017.
"Enrollment increases like this do not happen by accident, and I would like to express my gratitude to our many faculty, staff, alumni and friends who made this achievement possible," Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. "Mizzou is nearly 180 years old, and these numbers show me that our commitment and efforts to prepare the university for the future are paying off."
The enrollment growth puts MU near the top among SEC schools. Only one other conference university, Louisiana State University, reported double-digit growth while many universities experienced single- and double-digit declines, according to preliminary reports.
During the past year, the university introduced a suite of news scholarship and affordability initiatives. It began implementing an ambitious plan to double research funding during the next five years. And it completed a comprehensive analysis and plan to address the greatest challenges facing Missourians.
The university said its freshman class also is more diverse and academically gifted. First-time college student minority enrollment increased from 778 last year to 1,015, with spikes in enrollment among African Americans, Hispanics and those who identify as multiracial. In addition, the class retained the university's strong ACT average of 26, which is significantly higher than the state average of 20.4 and the national average of 21. At the same time, the university logged a record retention rate of 87.3, meaning nearly nine out of ten freshmen from last year returned to MU this fall.