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Students enjoyed fireworks over the Northwest campus Tuesday night, a tradition at the University that celebrates the start of the academic year. When classes began Wednesday, Northwest set a new high for overall enrollment. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

Students enjoyed fireworks over the Northwest campus Tuesday night, a tradition at the University that celebrates the start of the academic year. When classes began Wednesday, Northwest set a new high for overall enrollment. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

Aug. 19, 2021

Northwest opens with 4.3-percent enrollment increase, largest international graduate enrollment, high retention rate


Northwest Missouri State University began its 2021-22 academic year with a 4.3-percent rise in its total enrollment from a year ago, marking a fourth consecutive year of increased headcount while maintaining its high retention rate.

Northwest began its fall semester Wednesday with on-ground classes and COVID-19 mitigation measures in place at its main campus in Maryville as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location in Gladstone.

Students gathered Monday evening in College Park for the Bearcat Bash social event. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Students gathered Monday evening in College Park for the Bearcat Bash social event. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

On the first day of classes, the University recorded a total headcount of 7,319, compared to 7,018 students on the first day of the 2020-21 academic year. Additionally, 76 percent of Northwest’s 2020 freshman class returned to the University for a second year, which is even with last year’s retention rate and matches the second-highest percentage in the institution’s history.

The University’s enrollment total includes a 136 percent increase in first-time graduate students and a 42 percent increase in overall graduate student enrollment. Of those first-time graduate students, 320 come from other countries, setting a new high in the University’s history for that marker.

Additionally, Northwest’s online enrollment is up 20 percent compared to fall 2020.  

Northwest’s freshman headcount is 986, with 39 percent of the class identifying as a first-generation college student. Those students represent 14 states and nine other countries.

All enrollment numbers are preliminary until Northwest’s official census occurs Wednesday, Sept. 15. Northwest’s fall 2020 census provided the University with a record-setting enrollment of 7,267 students.

Students played sand volleyball outside a Northwest residence hall after moving in Saturday. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Students played sand volleyball outside a Northwest residence hall after moving in Saturday. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

“We continue uplifting Northwest’s special culture, and it is clear – despite challenging demographic trends and enrollment patterns – that our quality and value is recognized as witnessed through four straight years of enrollment increases,” said Dr. John Jasinski, the president of Northwest Missouri State University, which will be honored this fall with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Excellence and Innovation Award for Campus Pandemic Response. “Our recent receipt of a national award for our pandemic response and strength in retention and placement rates serve to show how our faculty, staff and so many stakeholders focus on student success and the premium we place on learning, health and safety, agility and long-term viability.”

The University boasts a graduation rate in the 89th percentile of its national peer group. In addition, 96 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the University’s most recent data

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

Students picked up their textbooks in The Station during move-in activities Saturday. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Students picked up their textbooks in The Station during move-in activities Saturday. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

In relation to value, Northwest includes textbooks and a laptop in its tuition costs, saving students an estimated $7,200 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to earn money while building professional skills through the internationally benchmarked program.

Ninety percent of first-year students receive an institutional scholarship or grant, which includes Northwest’s innovative Bearcat Advantage and American Dream Grant programs. The University also offers low-cost housing, and a rate structure for graduate students that is based on market demand and program offerings rather than a traditional residency-based model.

Furthermore, to help undergraduate students complete their degree in four years or less and accrue less debt, Northwest’s “Complete 30” initiative encourages students to take a personalized approach to meeting their academic goals and complete 30 credit hours during the course of an academic year.

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/facts/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704