(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Northwest Missouri State University on Thursday reported an increase in first-day enrollment.
Overall first-day enrollment was 6,841, up 2 percent from opening day in 2018. The first-day headcount for 2018 was 6,786, up from 6,338 in 2017.
University officials predict total enrollment for the fall to exceed 7,000.
There were 1,349 first-time freshmen on campus, down 2 from the first day of classes in fall 2018 but up by more than 130 on the first day of class in 2017. The freshmen class represents 16 countries and 17 states including Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The overall increase was aided by a high retention rate for last year’s incoming class, with 76 percent of freshmen from the 2018-2019 school year returning, a news release stated. It’s the second-highest retention rate in the school’s history following close behind a record 78 percent retention rate achieved last fall.
“We are nationally recognized for our diligence in helping students succeed, and these strong enrollment numbers indicate students, parents, and others recognize Northwest as a leader in a very competitive and crowded marketplace,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said in a news release Thursday evening.
The press release about enrollment attributed the increase, in part, to better communicate with prospective students and partnerships with outside vendors focused on boosting enrollment.
Additionally, 47 percent of the class are first-generation students, up 5 percent since the fall of 2018.
Under-represented American minority enrollment in the freshmen class increased by 5 percent since last fall. In total, the group makes up 17 percent of the freshman class.
“We are proud of the work of so many in addressing enrollment, yet at the same time, the strength of our academic programs, student success initiatives and culture are the drivers for our gains,” Jasinski said in the release.
Northwest boasts one of the lowest tuitions in the nation and its inclusion of laptops and textbooks in tuition costs. The press release highlighted the 1,200 jobs available to students, low-cost housing, the reduction of credits required to earn a bachelor’s degree from 124 to 120, and a new graduate program rate structure as means used to attract new students. These steps, the release stated, have made Northwest more attractive and affordable for thousands of students.
The university has also increased online enrollment by 25 percent, graduate enrollment by 9 percent and undergraduate enrollment by 1 percent.
Northwest’s official census numbers will be released on Sept. 18.