New enrollment record set


Matt Barney

As of noon on Friday, the 20th day of classes, Missouri Southern State University had broken through a record set 26 years ago: it had enrolled 6,229 students for the fall semester, 217 students more than 1990’s all-time high.

The final enrollment numbers are officially out.

“We have a record headcount of 6,231 students and record number of enrollment hours, which is 72,721,” said Derek Skaggs, dean of admissions. “These numbers represent a 7.7 percent increase in number of students and a 6.8 percent increase in enrolled hours. We ended up with 1,057 freshmen, which was a 14.3 percent increase.”

Missouri Southern has also had a 2.3 percent increase in transfer students, a 13.8 percent increase in international students, and a 26.1 percent increase in dual credit students. There is also about a 125 percent increase in graduate students which Skaggs says is mostly due to Southern’s new degree offering, the master’s in management. This year, there is also a 5.7 percent increase in in-state students, a 15.1 percent increase in out-of-state students, and a 23.6 percent increase in Lion Pride Tuition students, which includes students from Texas and all states bordering Missouri.

“High school graduate demographics peaked in Missouri several years ago and have been declining sense then,” Skaggs said. “One way we’ve tried to keep enrollment up despite this is by looking at areas in Missouri that still have increasing numbers of high school graduates. We also looked to other states around Missouri. We ended up having growth in Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma primarily.”

The enrollment increase isn’t always easy for campus to deal with. University President Alan Marble calls finding room for all of these students “a good type of problem to have.”

Trouble with parking is one of these problems related to an increased number of students.

“We anticipate continued growth, so we’re working on long-term ways to address our parking issue,” said Marble. “We are certainly not ignoring it. A parking garage would be a good idea, except it would be so expensive.” He continued, “We’re trying to figure out the best, most affordable way to address this without charging students an enormous fee.”