MUTV’s Christina Turner and Jenn Croft speak to Chuck May about the surprising trends in the 2012 enrollment.
The University of Missouri’s recent effort to recruit more out-of-state students has had a strong impact on the incoming freshman classes, with nonresidents making up about 32 percent of the class of 2011, making it the first time ever that nonresidents have made up more than 30 percent of a single class.
One of the biggest reasons for the increase in out-of-state students is the recent drop in Missourians graduating from high school. It’s been predicted that the number of high school graduates in the state of Missouri will shrink for about seven more years before leveling off, and until then officials at Mizzou are thinking “outside of state lines”.
“Fewer students graduating from high schools in Missouri doesn’t mean that more students are dropping out, it simply means that there are less students in the pipeline, meaning the birthrates in the state of Missouri have been going down,” said Chuck May, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Mizzou. “So with the decrease in the student population of Missouri, we knew we needed to be going out of state to offset that difference in the loss of Missouri residents.”
As far as the freshman class of 2012 goes, the University’s Admissions Office has received more non-resident applications than Missouri applications for the first time ever, with a large majority of them coming from the state of Illinois, specifically the Chicago area.
Mizzou admissions officials traveled widely last fall to recruit out-of-state students. Despite that, admissions has two year-round recruiters placed in the city of Chicago, with another in Dallas, Texas, and another in Minneapolis, Minn.
“These recruiters have helped significantly increase the numbers of students applying from out-of-state,” said May. “It’s important that we have people visiting schools, meeting with families, and going to college fairs. We want to do as much one-to-one recruiting as possible.”
The University receives an extra $12,795 in tuition from non-Missouri residents, even more motivation to be recruiting outside state lines.
Officials predict an incoming freshman class of about 36,000 students, over 2,000 more than last year’s enrollment total. Of these students, a predicted 13,000 will be from out-of-state, blowing last year’s enrollment record out of the water.
The enrollment numbers, based on these predictions, have begun to cause concern about the growing class sizes at Mizzou.
“I’ve grown to accept that each new freshman incoming class is bigger than the last,” said senior Trent Kruessel. “I just think they’ll run into problems with housing.”
As on-campus housing seems to be a growing concern among Mizzou students and officials alike, increasing class sizes test the problem solving abilities of Residential Life at the University of Missouri.
“The place where we’ve seen the biggest crunch is in residence halls,” said a Mizzou official. “We anticipate going out to extended housing like Tiger Diggs, so we’ll house some students out there.”
Admissions has also made a deal with University Residential Life to reduce the number of returning students that will be able to come back and live in the halls. This will offer more housing to freshmen on campus.
– Jenn Croft