Missouri Western State University is seeing large increases in the numbers of students from outside the state of Missouri, preliminary enrollment figures indicate. The number of incoming out-of-state students is up 20 percent, and the number of international students is up 81 percent.

“We continue to draw the vast majority of our students from the state of Missouri, especially our primary service area of Andrew, Buchanan, Clay, Clinton and Platte Counties,” said Howard McCauley, Missouri Western’s dean of enrollment management. “But it’s encouraging that we’re attracting students from a wider area. We have consciously tried to expand our footprint regionally and internationally, and it’s gratifying to see those efforts pay off.”

The new Griffon Rate, equivalent to in-state tuition for students from 51 counties in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, gets much of the credit for the growth in out-of-state enrollment, McCauley said. Missouri Western currently has about 483 out-of-state students, up from 414 a year ago.

Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president, has made internationalization one of his top priorities since arriving on campus in 2008. The number of international students enrolled at Missouri Western has grown from just eight in the first year of Dr. Vartabedian’s tenure to an estimated 81 this fall. Representatives from the Office of Admissions, International Student Services and academic departments have made numerous recruiting trips to establish connections with students, teachers and counselors overseas.

The numbers won’t be final until after the official census date on Sept. 23, but compared with the same point last year, total enrollment is down about 4.4 percent and the number of credit hours is down about 3.7 percent. This decline is consistent with regional and national demographic trends, McCauley said.

Despite the overall decline, McCauley said there are encouraging signs beyond the growth in out-of-state and international enrollment. The incoming freshmen are well prepared academically, with a record high number of students enrolled in Missouri Western’s Honors Program this fall. There also appears to be solid growth in the number of adult students, up an estimated 7.4 percent from a year ago.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.