Enrollment at the University of Missouri continues to crater in the wake of the November 2015 race protests, with this year’s incoming class down 33 percent from the one two years ago.
Official figures released by the school Wednesday put the freshman class at 4,134 ― up from the university’s initial estimate of 4,009. But enrollment is still down 546 from the fall of 2016 and 2,060 from the fall of 2015.
Total enrollment is down nearly 13 percent since 2015.
University Chancellor Alexandra Cartwright said “students and parents understand the inherent value of an MU degree.”
“Every day, I see the power of a Missouri education in action ― whether out in the field, in the lab, at the office or in the newsroom,” Ms. Cartwright said in a statement. “Our students are heavily recruited because people know that Mizzou students have a strong work ethic and infuse Midwestern values into everything they do.”
The school pointed out that its retention rate last year, 87 percent, was the second highest in university history. And incoming students boast an average ACT score of 26, up from the state average of 20 and national average of 21.
“This tells me that the University of Missouri is attracting the state’s best and brightest, and these students are successful,” vice provost Jim Spain said in a statement. “Student success is a priority, and our students are benefiting from our efforts to improve retention.”
The state’s flagship campus also remains the top choice for freshmen within the state, besting the incoming class at Missouri State University in Springfield by a mere four students this year, reported the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Students at the University of Missouri protested the school’s handling of racial incidents on campus beginning in September of 2015.
The movement gained considerable traction when several members of the football team said they would not play or practice until then-University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned. Forfeiting football games would have cost the university an estimated $1 million per contest.
In an email leaked in January of 2016, Mr. Wolfe said ceding to the demands of students would end up costing the university more in the long run.
“In hindsight the $1 million penalty associated with forfeiting the game against BYU would have paled in comparison to the more than $25 million in lost tuition fees MU will realize with reduced enrollment this fall,” he said in the email. “It’s also a pittance of the threatened loss of state funding that could be as much as $500 million.”