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Northwest's freshman class, pictured here as they attended the annual convocation on Aug. 26, is experiencing a 9.3 percent increase this fall compared to a year ago. Northwest's overall enrollment us up 8.2 percent. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest's freshman class, pictured here as they attended the annual convocation on Aug. 26, is experiencing a 9.3 percent increase this fall compared to a year ago. Northwest's overall enrollment us up 8.2 percent. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Sept. 28, 2018

Northwest sets record retention rate, enrollment up 8.2 percent

Enrollment at Northwest Missouri State University is 6,857 students, which represents an increase of 8.2 percent from a year ago, and shows an institutional record 78 percent retention rate, according to results of the University’s fall census.

Northwest enrolled a freshman class this fall of 1,329 students, accounting for a 9.3 percent increase; the percentage of first-time underrepresented freshmen attending Northwest is up 14 percent and represents the third-largest in the institution’s history. The number of students transferring to the University is up by 19.7 percent to 346.

Northwest attributes the growth to a refined strategic approach that includes the establishment of a cross-disciplinary recruiting team, enhanced communication with prospective students, and partnerships with marketing and online education vendors to provide services and support aimed at increasing enrollment.

“We are very excited to see so many students attending and staying at Northwest,” Jeremy Waldeier, Northwest’s interim director of student recruiting. “It’s a direct reflection of the hard work of the entire campus community and our focus on students.”

The retention rate represents the percentage of Northwest’s 2017 freshman class that returned to the University for a second year and breaks its 2007 record of 73.51 percent.

Other enrollment increases at the University include online enrollment (up 104.4 percent), graduate headcount (up 39.2 percent) and undergraduate headcount (up 3.3 percent). The number of first-time graduate students at Northwest this fall is up 38.4 percent and broke an institutional record, and international graduate is up 51.2 percent.

Additionally, Northwest reports a headcount of 1,316 students, or 19 percent of the student population, who identify with underrepresented groups or hail from countries outside the United States. Northwest’s 219 underrepresented domestic first-time students represent the third-largest total in the University’s history and a 14 percent increase from last fall. Northwest’s total minority enrollment is 879 students, which is up 6.5 percent from last fall and represents almost 13 percent of the student body. Northwest’s undergraduate, underrepresented headcount is up by 2 percent..

The University’s enrollment includes 437 international students, who represent about 6 percent of Northwest’s student body. They represent 37 countries with the majority of those students coming from India, Nepal, South Korea and Nigeria.

The University’s in-state student population is 4,607 students, an increase of 11.1 percent from last fall. Northwest students represent a total of 44 states this fall as the University continues to draw well from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.

At Northwest-Kansas City, where the University offers a range of coursework and degree completion programs, dual credit enrollment is up 11.39 percent.

Northwest students also are academically strong with an average ACT score of 22, which exceeds state and national averages, and an average high school grade-point average of 3.37

About Northwest Missouri State University

Founded in 1905, Northwest – a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university – offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

U.S. News and World Report has ranked Northwest as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri. Safewise has ranked the city of Maryville as one of the “Safest College Towns in America,” while has named the Northwest campus one of the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.”

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their resumes with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.

The University touts achievements that include a graduation rate in the 89th percentile of its national peer group. Northwest also owns state-leading career placement rates of 97.4 percent for undergraduates and 99.8 percent for graduate students.

As part of the University’s retention strategy focused on affordability, Northwest includes textbooks and a laptop in its tuition, which saves students an estimated $7,300 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit


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