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COLUMBIA - MU's campus was more crowded Monday compared to recent years.

Freshman enrollment has the highest increase in ten years with a 13.1% increase in students. The amount of students returning to MU increased with a 87.3% retention rate, setting a record for the highest in history.

MU Spokesperson Christian Basi said some key factors have come into play as to why enrollment was down the past few years.

"We've had increased competition and some perception concerns. One of the things that has happened over the last year is that we've had new leadership that has come in and done a lot of listening," said Basi.

The reason for this increase is due to more grants and scholarships, as well as a decrease overall in the cost of MU including room and board, and textbooks, according to Basi.

"Mizzou has always been very good at helping to keep the costs low. Our students have typically had lower debt loads graduating than the national average," Basi said.

After the protests in 2015, senior Sarah Seibert decided to stay on MU's campus because she felt that everyone moved on from it in a positive way.

"Just being a part of the Mizzou culture, I was really enjoying it so there's no reason for me to think differently about my decision," Seibert said. 

The last few years have proven to have struggled in enrollment. Freshman Robert Wald decided to stay in his home state and enroll at MU where he was encouraged by people who decided not to transfer after the protests. 

"It was a really good option as far as affordability goes. Political climates change all the time and I think it's honestly good to have, you know, a community that's willing to speak up about stuff that they believe in," Wald said.

Basi said MU will continue to approve their costs and accessibility. 

"We obviously were very successful with the actions that we took last year, and so we're going to try and make sure that we're doing very similar things this year," Basi said.

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