At the latest Board of Governors meeting it was reported that enrollment is up from last year.
The overall headcount is up 2.9 percent over the spring 2018 semester, total credit hours jumped up by 2 percent and online enrollment increased by 8 percent.
Missouri Western President Dr. Robert Vartabedian credits the staff at Western for the increase.
“I would have to give personnel acknowledged in today’s board meeting a lot of credit for that,” Vartabedian said. “They work very hard to do all kinds of proactive things to increase interest.”
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Doug Davenport agrees that the staff and the hiring of a consulting company has led to an increase of enrollment at Western.
“Enrollment going up, first and foremost, is a part of a strategy of using Royall and Company, which is now part of EAB,” Davenport said. “So, they’re marketing Missouri Western to far more students, perspective students, than used to be.”
Over the past two years Western has seen a total increase in 22 percent increase in enrollment, and Davenport believes that the use of EAB is responsible for that increase.
Vartabedian also believes that the use of a marketing consultant has helped with the increase of enrollment.
“They (EAB) have done a lot of things, particularly through social media, to get people interested in coming here (Missouri Western), giving them redundant messages and not giving up on them,” Vartabedian said. “We kind of defied the odds; just about all the schools like ours, open-enrollment schools, have had significant drops. I think we calculated the average drop of schools like ours at 20 percent.”
The largest improvements happened with dual enrollment, gaining 14.8 percent in headcount and 16.5 percent in dual credit hours. Davenport sees this as an opportunity to get more students interested in Western.
“Dual enrollment and dual credit has been an unqualified success for us as an institution,” Davenport said. “It is a pipeline, I will say, where students that are getting the Missouri Western experience in high school. Our goal is that they will see it is a viable option for them because these are students who are extremely well-prepared academically, and I think they will do well to come to Missouri Western.”
One issue that the enrollment has caused is being overcrowded n the residence halls, which has happened this year. Davenport believes that this means Western will need to focus on other areas to continue to grow enrollment.
“We need to focus on where can we grow enrollment,” Davenport said. “So, the number for first-time, full-time students are limited. There’s a certain number we can get to and beyond that is not in our students’ best interest to grow. But non-traditional students are adult learners. I think there is also other areas, transfer students in particular, as an area to grow.”
Western also matched the retention rate in the freshman class at 83.5 percent despite having more students enrolled during the fall 2018 semester than fall 2017. Vartabedian credits this to having more prepared students enrolling at the university.
“It helps when you start with a student who is more likely to succeed, than not,” Vartabedian said. “If you look at the profile of our students, we’re getting students who are more likely to succeed and more likely to be retained. I think that for one and for two, obviously, the efforts of our personnel in recruiting and retention has paid off.”
The board also approved new fume hoods to the Remington/Agenstein Science Building, which will save energy and save the university money.