Enrollment in colleges and universities across the nation is predicted to decrease due to a lack of graduating seniors. The total number of students in the nation is dropping.
Howard McCauley, Director of Admissions, has known this was coming for a while.
“Yes, we have known this for a long time,” McCauley said. “This is not a surprise. We are preparing for it, trying to counteract it.”
McCauley cited studies that predicted a 3 to 4 percent drop in university enrollment between 2002 and 2017 in Missouri. These studies also predicted low enrollment numbers in many other states.
Despite these studies, Missouri Western had record enrollment in Fall 2010 with 6,134 students. Tyson Schank, Associate Director of Admissions, thinks that Fall 2010 was the largest direct high school enrollment Missouri Western had seen for a few years.
“Missouri Western has not seen the effects of the dwindling high school students,” Schank said. “We have known about this for a while.”
The colleges projected to be hit most by the population drop are the private schools and rural-area schools.
Missouri Western’s enrollment has been on the rise since Fall 2003.
“Western has had a lot of great things going on for it for the last four or five years,” McCauley said. “The cost, opportunities for scholarships, the opportunities for wonderful facilities, and whether you believe it or not, we have the best parking of any state university in the country. All these things have helped us.”
The Admissions Department at Missouri Western isn’t ready to predict what will happen in Fall 2011.
“Honestly, it’s just too early to tell,” Schank said. “I would shoot you a number if I could.”
The Admissions Department doesn’t see the tuition hikes as a problem for Missouri Western.
“Missouri Western will still be the best bargain in the Midwest when you look at what it cost per capita, and when you look at the tuition and fees compared to other schools,” McCauley said.