Mizzou Enrollment Declines as Other MO Universities Report Spike

The University of Missouri is seeing a sharp decline in enrollment even as other universities in Missouri report a spike. Enrollment was expected to drop at Mizzou after last fall’s racial uprising, but preliminary numbers released by the school at the start of the fall term are even worse than anticipated and the ensuing financial shortfall has led the school to propose major cuts to the budget.

This comes as many other four-year universities in Missouri are reporting an increase in enrollment.

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.

Mizzou, on the other hand, is facing a near seven-percent decline in enrollment:

Administrators had predicted a drop of 1,500 in overall enrollment, but the actual figure is now benchmarked at around 2,200, a decline of nearly 7 percent compared to last year’s numbers.

Most of the loss comes from Mizzou’s incoming freshmen class of just 4,799, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which represents the smallest incoming class in nearly a decade, with a shortage of more than 1,400 students compared to last year’s class.

To make matters worse, Mizzou is also trying to dig itself out of a financial hole of $32 million brought on by both low enrollment numbers as well as state legislators who proposed cuts of $1 million to Mizzou’s allocation of state funds and $7.6 million to the UM system’s administrative funds.

The school’s already tense relationship with the state legislature intensified last year after former journalism professor Melissa Click was caught on video harassing students and swearing at police officers during on-campus protests in the fall. Click was later suspended and eventually fired, but the damage to Mizzou’s reputation had already been done.