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Systemwide enrollment is up 3% at OTC to start the fall semester.
provided by Ozarks Technical Community College
Systemwide enrollment is up 3% at OTC to start the fall semester.

Tens of thousands of students converge on Springfield-area colleges

Posted online

Last edited 1:15 p.m., Aug. 23, 2023

The Springfield-area population grew this week with the reintroduction of higher-education students for the fall semester after summer vacation.

Institution officials that responded to Springfield Business Journal's request for data reported a mixed bag of enrollment figures compared with a year earlier. Official student census data typically is announced later in the semester.

The area's largest higher-ed institution, Missouri State University, had 18,293 students at its Springfield campus to start the fall semester, said Rob Hornberger, associate vice president for enrollment management and services. That's down from 18,383 at the start of classes last year.

“We’re really pleased Missouri State is starting to look more like the population of Missouri,” MSU President Clif Smart said in a news release, referring to 2,627 underrepresented students, among other groups. “It’s important to us that we have a community that’s welcoming to all students, faculty and staff.”

OTC spokesperson Mark Miller said systemwide enrollment – at its six locations and online – grew 3% to 9,962 students to start the semester.

"This growth was due in large part to the new OTC Cares model of providing personalized support to applicants and returning students, resulting in increased matriculation and retention rates," Miller said via email.

At Evangel University, spokesperson Erin Hedlun said 2,484 students have enrolled in classes and are in the process of finalizing enrollment for the fall semester.

"This represents an increase of 17% over the last two years," she said.

The starting fall semester figure at Point Lookout-based College of the Ozarks is 1,430, said spokesperson Valorie Coleman. That's down 4% from 1,486 in August last year, according to past reporting.

Baptist Bible College President Mark Milioni said via email that the fall semester starting figure for the north Springfield institution is 365, an 18% increase compared with a year earlier.

A Drury University official said final enrollment figures are pending, and a spokesperson with Southwest Baptist University could not be reached for comment by deadline.

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