Oct. 2, 2012
Northwest enrollment passes 6,800 students for fifth consecutive year
Northwest Missouri State University’s student population totals 6,831 students this fall, representing 46 states and 29 countries, according to official enrollment numbers reported this week by Dean of Enrollment Management Bev Schenkel.
The total enrollment marks the first time in four years that Northwest did not report a record fall enrollment, which peaked at 7,225 students last year.
Schenkel cited the decreasing number of high school graduates as a major reason for the dip in enrollment at Northwest. The number of high school graduates from 2011 to 2012 has dropped between 2 and 20 percent in northwest Missouri counties, while statewide the number dropped 3 percent. Estimates show the numbers will continue to decline through 2014-2015.
“Northwest has enjoyed four consecutive years of enrollment growth, however, we anticipated a decline as we analyzed the number of high school graduates in our region,” Schenkel said. “Although, the next few years will continue to be challenging to grow enrollment in Missouri, Northwest is committed to providing a quality education to the state’s citizens. At the same time, the out-of-state and international markets are critical to Northwest’s growth.”
The enrollment total consists of 6,014 undergraduate students and 817 graduate students. Northwest enrolled a freshman class totaling 1,287 students this year, which is down from last year’s record freshman enrollment of 1,498.
Twenty-nine percent of the student body, or a total of 1,950 students, hail from beyond the Missouri border, while 4,881 Northwest students are Missouri residents.
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski noted the University remains a top destination for a comprehensive academic experience and cited several key factors that illustrate Northwest is helping its students succeed. For example, Northwest freshmen have a success rate of 70 percent, compared to the state average of 44 percent for other moderately selective institutions. Freshman success rate is defined by the state as the completion of 24 credit hours with a 2.00 grade-point average or higher in the first academic year of a student's enrollment. Additionally, about 69 percent of Northwest's fall 2011 freshmen returned to the University this fall, placing Northwest's freshman retention rate above the national average.
Northwest's graduation rate is 57 percent while the national average for similar institutions is 38 percent. Ninety-five percent of Northwest graduates report finding employment or continuing their education within six months of graduation.
“We are committed to student success at Northwest and our student completion agenda is what we will continue focusing upon,” Jasinski said. “I am thankful for our faculty and staff who have pulled together to focus on retention initiatives as we continue to outperform our peers on metrics that matter most.”
Northwest's student body also remains diverse with 999 students, or 15 percent, coming from an underrepresented domestic group or another country. Northwest's total minority enrollment is 775 students, which represents 11 percent of the student body. Total international enrollment is 224 students, or 3 percent of Northwest's total enrollment, with the majority of those students coming from India, China and Korea.
A total of 282 students transferred to Northwest from other colleges or universities this fall. About 67 percent of the students transferring to Northwest come from within the state; out-of-state transfers represent 10 states.
Schenkel noted this fall’s freshman class is strong academically with an average ACT score of 22.4, which is higher than the national average of 21.1 and the state average of 21.6. The freshmen enrolled at Northwest this fall carried an average high school grade-point average of 3.33. About 69 percent of this year's freshmen are Missouri residents, while the University’s 397 out-of-state freshmen represent 17 states.
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Northwest Missouri State University
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