Last edited 2:35 p.m., Sept. 27, 2019
Bucking national and local trends, Evangel University reported a 9% uptick in enrollment this fall.
Total enrollment for the private Christian university is 2,300 students, an increase of 189 people compared with last fall, according to a news release.
Nationwide trends tracked by digital media company Inside Higher Ed show college enrollment has decreased for eight consecutive years. Its latest report this spring reported enrollment was down 1.7% over last year.
Chris Belcher, Evangel’s vice president for enrollment management, said the school’s freshman class grew by 19% year over year. Traditional undergraduate students at its main campus in north Springfield and its James River campus in Ozark represent nearly 70% of the student population, with the remainder coming through graduate and adult studies, as well as The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
“We are very pleased with the results of a good plan, hard work and God’s blessing,” Belcher said in the release. “These numbers will likely improve when final enrollment for the seminary are tallied later this fall.”
At Missouri State University, the final enrollment count was down 1.1% over last year, according to university officials. Its Springfield campus has 24,126 students.
But while traditional undergraduate enrollment was down, the public university’s Graduate College enrollment increased nearly 3% to 3,815 students, officials say.
At Drury University, census day enrollment was relatively flat. Spokesman Mike Brothers said fall 2019 enrollment is 1,478, a decrease of 10 students compared with a year earlier.
At Ozarks Technical Community College, freshman enrollment was up 9% for fall 2019, and overall enrollment across its five locations is down 3% over last year to 11,762 students, said spokesman Mark Miller.
"We continue to see the effects of low unemployment and a strong job market on nontraditional students who are finding high-paying jobs and are not seeking higher education,” he said.
Southwest Baptist University spokeswoman Charlotte Marsch said total enrollment numbers have not been finalized, but undergraduate enrollment at the Springfield campus this fall is 537, a 4% drop from last year. Its Bolivar campus also recorded a decrease: down 3% to 1,336 students this fall.
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