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Aug. 31, 2009
A banner year for enrollment is unfolding at Northwest Missouri State University with the total student headcount projected to break 7,000 for the first time in school history.
Dean of Enrollment Management Bev Schenkel said that Northwest, now in the third year of a five-year growth plan, remains on target to meet its goal of increasing enrollment by at least 4 percent annually through the 2011-2012 academic year.
As students arrived on campus last week, Schenkel set the total headcount at 6,782, which includes approximately 5,857 undergraduates and just over 925 graduate students. Additional enrollment numbers will continue to come in prior to the state's census later this fall, at which time Schenkel expects the final enrollment total to reach approximately 7,200.
"We are seeing growth in both our undergraduate and graduate headcounts," Schenkel said.
By way of comparison, a total of 5,582 undergraduates were enrolled at Northwest at this time last year plus 849 graduate students for total headcount of 6,431. Schenkel said this year's freshman class has grown by 25 students for a total first-year count of 1,496.
As for the reasons behind Northwest's record-setting enrollment growth, Schenkel said hard work by recruiters, expansion into new recruiting territories and efforts to reach prospects through the Internet and other electronic media -- including a newly redesigned admissions Web site -- have all come into play.
"We have implemented some additional recruitment plans in Illinois as part of our growth plan, and we've seen an increase in our Illinois enrollment as a result," Schenkel said, noting that enrollment from Missouri's neighbor to the east has doubled from last year with most of the new students coming from the Chicago suburbs as well as metropolitan St. Louis.
"I want to especially commend the hard work of the Northwest recruitment team and those who conducted campus tours this past year," Schenkel said. "The number of tours was up again, and our people also did a lot of good work out in the high schools and bringing students to campus for bus tours."
Recruiters have also placed a special emphasis on Kansas City and the Kansas City suburbs, visiting schools with more frequency and talking to as many students as possible.
Recruiting in a weak economy has posed problems for some four-year schools, Schenkel said, as more students opt to attend community colleges. Northwest, however, continues to grow despite the tough times faced by many families with college-age children.
"In the undergraduate area, we are seeing steady trends," she said. "Although some other schools are losing students to community colleges, students still see tuition here as moderate and realize that our scholarships continue at a level that is assisting them."
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468