As Mizzou enrollment plummets, U of I sees its largest freshman class
The 2017 University of Missouri freshmen class is the smallest in nearly two decades, and the school has closed at least seven residence halls since the race-fueled protests of 2015.
Overall, student population at the school has dipped by 35 percent over the last 24 months, and first-day student numbers recently fell by more than 6 percent, prompting landlords near the campus to offer promotions like $1,000 gift cards in hopes of attracting renters to the unexpectedly available residences.
An argument can be made that the enrollment drop is a direct rejection of Mizzou, since several other state institutions have boasted record-setting enrollment numbers, including Missouri State University where the number of transferring students grew by 108 and first-day enrollment expanded by almost 4 percent to more than 21,000.
The University of Missouri was recently the epicenter of race related protests that ended with removal of the school’s president and chancellor. At the height of the dispute, students staged hunger strikes and the football team threatened to boycott games in support of the protests.
Those seemingly reaping the benefits stemming from all the chaos aren’t confined to just other state institutions.
Just across state lines at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, enrollment numbers are on the rise, though Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs Robin Kaler told the Metro East Standard “the University of Missouri is not a factor in our enrollment numbers.”
What’s indisputable is at the same time Missouri is suffering through its woes, U of I is celebrating its largest freshman class in school history at 7,583 students.
Illinois also recently added several online master’s degree programs aimed at increasing enrollment. In addition, earlier this year the Chicago Tribune reported the university has embarked on an effort to increase enrollment at its three campuses by 15 percent over the next five years, increasing overall student enrollment to more than 93,600 students.
The overall plan to add some 12,150 students over the next four years is also bolstered by a goal of freezing tuition cost for all incoming students.
“We continue to recruit the best and brightest students from Illinois, the nation and around the world,” Kaler added.
In total, more than 81,000 students are enrolled for classes at the three U of I institutions this year, with the Chicago and Springfield campuses also setting new highs in total enrollment.
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