Official Figures Confirm Mizzou’s Retention Rate Second Highest in History

Fourth-week census numbers show freshman enrollment higher than expected

Sept. 20, 2017

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi,, 573-882-4430

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Enrollment at the University of Missouri rose slightly higher than expected in fourth-week census numbers released today while the campus continued to log near-record retention rates. Total enrollment is 30,870.

MU welcomed 4,134 freshmen this fall—up from the 4,009 expected based on preliminary numbers released in May. That’s more first-year students, including more Missourians, than any other university in the state.

In addition, MU’s retention rate was 87 percent—the second highest in university history. The retention rate measures how many freshmen return to Mizzou for their second year. Final figures also show the new class’s ACT average remains at 26, which is significantly above the state average of 20 and national average of 21.

“These numbers show that students and parents understand the inherent value of an MU degree,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “Every day, I see the power of a Missouri education in action—whether out in the field, in the lab, at the office or in the newsroom. Our students are heavily recruited because people know that Mizzou students have a strong work ethic and infuse Midwestern values into everything they do.”

Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and eLearning, said he is pleased with the university’s strong retention rates and ACT average.

“This tells me that the University of Missouri is attracting the state’s best and brightest, and these students are successful,” Spain said. “Student success is a priority, and our students are benefitting from our efforts to improve retention.”

Garnett Stokes, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, noted students have a wealth of opportunities at Mizzou.

“We’re excited to welcome this exceptional class, and we’re excited about the future,” Stokes said. “From hands-on learning to study abroad to service learning opportunities and working closely with faculty mentors, our students are helping to take on some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment management, and Pat Okker, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science, are co-chairing the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee that is expected to shape Mizzou’s enrollment future. The committee is charged with recommending strategic efforts and policy initiatives related to enrollment.

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