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MU Reaches Record Enrollment, Retention Rate, Number of High-Achieving Students on First Day of Fall Semester

August 24th, 2015

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

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COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— On Aug. 24, the University of Missouri opened its doors for the fall semester, welcoming the largest student body and the fourth-largest freshman class in the history of the university. Among the highlights of the 2015-16 school year are a record number of high-achieving students — those students who scored a 30 or higher on the ACT — a record retention rate, and the most diverse student body in MU’s history.

“Recruiting the best and brightest students always has been our goal at Mizzou,” said Barbara Rupp, interim vice provost for enrollment management. “Two years ago, we instituted new scholarships to attract and reward high-achieving students. Now, we’re seeing the results of that work. We also have many individuals working tirelessly to create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and providing our students with great college experiences. Seeing our retention rate increase this year is evidence of that hard work.”

Two years ago, MU created a new $6,500 scholarship and increased two existing scholarships targeting students with high ACT scores. This year, the incoming freshman class broke records with an ACT mean score of 26, and the number of freshmen with ACT scores of 30 and higher, which increased 1.4 percent from last year to 1,086 this year. Additionally, 602 Bright Flight recipients, 236 Curator Scholars and 459 Chancellor’s Scholars are members of MU’s 2015 freshman class.

MU’s retention rates also have risen steadily over the past two decades. Programs such as Freshmen Interest Groups, Living/Learning Communities, student success courses, the TRIO program, specific tutoring services (including 24 hour online tutoring) and others have been implemented as a means to help students adjust to their new environment. MU also has launched a comprehensive student support network, MU Connect, that links faculty, academic advisers, student support offices, financial aid and the cashiers office as a team for each student. 

“We have students coming to us from all walks of life and every corner of the globe,” said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “They bring with them different languages, experiences and cultural traditions. Our faculty and staff have worked hard to help them transition and be successful at Mizzou while also recognizing the wonderful diversity of this campus. Seeing our retention rate rise demonstrates to us that we’re doing the right things. We also are focusing on early intervention strategies in an effort to provide an optimal learning experience for our students.”

Preliminary figures show that total enrollment is at 35,050, which is 115 students or 0.3 percent higher than last year’s record of 34,935. This year’s student body includes 6,211 freshman, 27,589 undergraduates, 1,195 professional students, and 6,266 graduate students. Diversity also increased as the number of students from underrepresented groups, up 1.8 percent to 5,485, and the number of international students, up 4.7 percent to 2,432, also are records.

Fall 2014 Fall 2015 Difference
Total Enrollment 34,935 35,050* +0.3 percent
Total Underrepresented Groups 5,386 5,485* +1.8 percent
Total International students 2,323 2,432* +4.7 percent
Mean ACT (freshman class) 25.9 26* +0.4 percent
Retention Rate 86% 87.1%* +1.1 percent
E-learning (100 percent online) credit hours in which students are enrolled 23,734 28,694* +20.9 percent

*indicates record figure