The University of Missouri has officially lost 23 percent of its entering Fall 2016 freshman class, due to an overwhelming drop in college applications received, the Daily Caller reported.
The incoming Mizzou freshman class this year amounts to 4,799 students, down 1,400 from last year’s class of 6,211 college freshmen. Overall enrollment at the university is down by 2,200 students, according to the school’s annual report.
School administrators predicted the school would face decreasing enrollment numbers due to the bad publicity it was receiving thanks to intense racial protests on campus involving racial activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Concerned Student 1950. Earlier in March, the school’s interim chancellor, Hank Foley, predicted a drop of 1,500 students by Fall 2016- yet drop rates have increased drastically.
Foley had emailed students about the school’s budget issues, which included a loss of $32 million four months after racial protests and demands had made national news headlines. He wrote:
Dear university community,
I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news.
The anticipated declinesâwhich total about 1,500 fewer students than current enrollment at MUâ in addition to a small number of necessary investments are expected to leave us with an approximate $32 million budget gap for next year. A smaller entering freshman class will have continuing impact on finances as they progress toward their degrees at MU...
Given that these declines are the result of drops in first-time student enrollments and retention of enrolled students, there are a number of initiatives and projects currently underway to stem the tide in both the short- and long-term. We are reaching out to admitted students who have not yet enrolled and to their parents with phone calls, Skype calls, videos and a text campaign â all of which involve current students, faculty and administrators throughout the university. We also are in the process of adding more out-of-state recruiters and we are redesigning all our Admissions materials to ensure they meet the expectations and needs of prospective students. I have also asked Admissions to develop a new web-based admissions platform that is streamlined and that will involve live feedback to prospective students. The goal is to make it easy to apply and to know very quickly what their prospects are for admission to MU. The key is to be faster, more personal and much more interactive.
Foley's letter continued by outlining other budget restrictions included a hiring freeze on faculty or staff, vice chancellors, vice provosts, and athletics program directors. Foley had also announced the suspension of Mizzou’s annual merit scholarships and programs. In September 2015, Mizzou joined a coalition of college campuses across the board that were modifying their college applications to make tuition more affordable for low-income students.
Ultimately, those measures seemed to have little effect on the school’s rapid budget and enrollment declines, which forced Mizzou to shut down several dormitories.
Since the virulent protests led by Concerned Student 1950, demands that Mizzou president Thomas Wolfe resign from his post because of what was considered an ineffective reaction to racial tensions; added to the incident involving a particular professor Melissa Click, who threatened and yelled at a student journalist to leave a campus protest, the Mizzou campus climate has been a mess. Racial protests at Mizzou were since mimicked at college campuses all over the country, and Mizzou became a symbol for the purported victories of Black Lives Matter and its supporters.
"Wow! Though I'm not surprised," one mother wrote in a forum discussing Mizzou's late enrollment declines. "My [daughter] had no interest of going to Missouri (the state, not just Mizzou) after all the news coverage."
Undoubtedly, students and their parents seem to be wary of such campus issues, and the school’s recent enrollment numbers reflect that.
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