Aug. 30, 2021–The first day of the fall 2021 semester is bringing more traffic to the Missouri Western State University campus compared to a year ago, with enrollment in face-to-face lecture classes increasing 27 percent over the first day of fall 2020.
“One of the consistent themes that we have heard from students over the last year is a desire to return to campus for in-person learning, and the numbers certainly bear that out,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, Missouri Western’s president. “It is exciting to see students return to a more vibrant campus experience this fall. I’m looking forward not only to full classrooms, but to attendance at our athletic events, art performances, guest lectures and other special events.”
Overall first-day enrollment is 4,204. That is higher than last year’s first-day enrollment, but much of that increase is due to an easier, more efficient and accessible enrollment process for high school students enrolled in the University’s Early College Academy. Final enrollment totals on the official census date in the fourth week of classes are projected to reflect some negative trends.
“We knew with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and a relatively late start in the recruiting cycle for us because of some personnel changes, it was going to be a challenging year to grow enrollment,” said Dr. Melissa Mace, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management. “Nonetheless, we’re seeing some encouraging signs in the early data.”
Among those bright spots: freshman transfers from other colleges are up substantially, from both community colleges and four-year institutions like Northwest Missouri State University, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State University.
“It’s gratifying to see students who began their educational career elsewhere recognize the distinctive value we provide at Missouri Western,” Dr. Mace said. “We are also delighted to see that the articulation pathways that we have established with area community colleges are paying dividends.”
Other bright spots in the early enrollment data include increases in incoming freshmen from Buchanan, Jackson, Andrew, DeKalb and Clinton Counties. The number of freshmen from Buchanan County, for example, is up more than 12 percent.
Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. 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 missouriwestern.edu.