Fall enrollment figures decline

Fall enrollment figures decline

Fall enrollment figures decline

Total enrollment figures may be down but hopes are not.

A total head count of students revealed the student population is 154 students less than last semester, but the number of freshman increased by 85 students to 777. The number of hours freshmen are taking increased to 1,151 credit hours.

University President Julio León said the number of freshmen is encouraging.

“It’s an indication that we had a large graduating class,” he said. “We are very pleased about it. These are very positive signs that the enrollment figures will rebound.”

The official count for all students is 5,256.

The Full Time Equivalency numbers, an average of enrolled hours to students enrolled, declined by only 35 hours.

León said the amount is small and means students are taking more hours compared to last semester.

Derek Skaggs, director of enrollment services, agreed the numbers are good news.

“I’m really pleased with the number of new freshmen and transfer students,” he said.

Skaggs said the 1998, 1999 and 2000 freshmen classes were larger classes, and now that these classes are graduated, it is natural that a decrease in enrollment will be seen.

Skaggs pointed to several reasons for more freshmen this semester.

“Our Board of Governors and our president have been working to keep it (tuition) affordable,” Skaggs said.

León and Skaggs also said Missouri Southern has not seen the same increase in tuition rates as other institutions in the area have. They say this is a reason many students have chosen to come to Southern instead of going to another institute.

Skaggs said the Board’s early decision to keep rates the same helped as well, because financial aid packages could be created earlier in the year.

Both Skaggs and León said the small classroom sizes work to contribute to students’ decisions to come to Southern.

“I certainly want them (the students) to know and [I] am convinced that they’ve made the right choice in coming to Missouri Southern,” León said. “All they need to do is their part and study.”

The number of transfer students also increased from 322 students to 424 students.

Skaggs said the admissions department and a new transfer recruiter position have also contributed to the increase.