The fall 2014 census shows a steady increase over last fall in students enrolled, and relatively no change in credit hours taken.
Currently, Western’s headcount is 5,742 undergraduate students, which is a 1.74 percent increase over last fall’s 5,644. While the headcount is slightly up over last year’s, the total number of credit hours that Western students are taking is only five hours fewer than last year’s 64,844 credit hours.
Additionally, there are 126 part-time and 58 full-time graduate students at Western who are currently taking a total of 1,176 credit hours.
The number of international students enrolled at Western is up 68.4 percent and the number of students who are returning from time off of college is up 5.5 percent over last semester. First-time freshman enrollment is up 3.6 percent, with first-time out-of-state students up 20 percent. This was the first full recruiting season for the new Griffon Rate, which extends the in-state tuition rate to more counties in surrounding states.
Although this semester is not the largest that we have had at Western in terms of total students on campus, Director of Admissions Tyson Schank believes there is good news in the numbers.
“There are fewer and fewer high school graduates, and that trend is expected to continue,” Schank said. “The fact that we’re actually up in first-time freshman is kind of out of the ordinary; we feel really good about that.”
According to The College Board, Missouri’s high schools graduated a high of about 70,000 students in 2010, which is consistent with Western’s 2011 high headcount of 6,135 students. Currently, the number of high school graduates in Missouri is staying down around 62,000 and is expected to start increasing to a peak of about 73,000 by 2022.
Western’s new retention and success program, the College Completion Team, has already showed that it is effective this semester, and the increase in overall students could mean the University will see some significant growth soon. (See accompanying story)