Possible record numbers enrolled for fall semester

Students%2C+including+Payton+Spering+and+Michaela+Weston%2C+walk+on+campus+Thursday%2C+Sept.+1%2C+2016.+Campus+is+even+more+full+of+students+since+the+11+percent+increase+in+enrollment.

Sierra Gray

Students, including Payton Spering and Michaela Weston, walk on campus Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. Campus is even more full of students since the 11 percent increase in enrollment.

Cora Butcher-Spellman

Rumor has it Missouri Southern is on track for record high enrollment this semester. According to Dr. Derek Skaggs, dean of admissions, the official numbers won’t be available until after Sept. 16, when the information technology department will freeze the file online and Institutional effectiveness will begin evaluating the numbers.

Skaggs said the final numbers would then be available within the next week.

 “If the census day were today, we would have the highest enrollment in MSSU history,” he said. “If we compare today’s numbers to census last year, we would have about a 5 percent increase in enrollment.”

Breaking down the total increase, he said, “There would be a 14 perent increase in incoming freshmen, about a 12 percent increase in international students, and a 2 percent increase in Missouri students.”

Skaggs also noted an increase in transfer students, saying, “Last year we had a record number of transfer students and we’re on track to have a new record this year too with a 4 percent increase.”

So why is enrollment increasing? That is yet to be determined, but there are several possible reasons.

University President Alan Marble said, “I think certainly the new residence halls are playing a part in this.” Marble also says he believes “the quality of our programs at MSSU and the value for students” is part of the reason enrollment may be on the rise.

Skaggs agreed, saying, “MSSU has always focused on accessibility and affordability. We try to combine quality and a fair price in order to provide a value to our students.”

Marble also cites the many new and growing partnerships MSSU has with the community, the University of Missouri at Kansas City and Kansas City University as providing great opportunities for students that he hopes draw more students to Southern. Marble also says the Lion Pride Tuition initiative is bringing in more students from neighboring states.

“At the first year convocation ceremony, I noticed how many of the new students’ hometowns are in neighboring states,” he said.

Skaggs confirmed that this certainly seems to be a factor. “As of today, we have a 14 percent out-of-state student increase with a 23 percent increase in the Lion Pride Tuition area.”

Skaggs also suggests higher enrollment may be partially due to recent improvements in scholarships for transfer students and the recent change in policy which allows students to stack or combine scholarships. Skaggs also reports a 100 percent increase in graduate students, which he said would be a record as well.

“Most of these new graduate students are in the new masters in management program beginning this fall, which has added another 40 graduate students,” Skaggs said.

“We’re not sure how the numbers will turn out in the next few weeks, but we’re hopeful,” he said. Skaggs also says he feels thankful for “our deans, department heads, and faculty who have all done an amazing job accommodating and making room for the large number of students enrolled this semester.”