M-I-Z! More than 5,450 freshmen begin classes at Mizzou

University of Missouri sees 16% increase in freshman enrollment, highest retention rate on record.

Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright volunteers to assist freshmen as they move into Brooks Hall at Mizzou.

Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright volunteers to assist freshmen as they move into Brooks Hall at Mizzou.

Aug. 19, 2019
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

There are more Tigers in mid-Missouri today, with 5,459 freshmen beginning classes at the University of Missouri. The freshman class increased by more than 16% compared to last year, marking the second year in a row the university has experienced double-digit percentage freshman enrollment growth. Overall enrollment at Mizzou increased approximately 1%, with a total of 29,677 students on campus.

“I am thrilled to welcome these new Tigers and all our returning students back to campus and to Columbia,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “Between Tiger Walk and move-in day, Melinda and I were thrilled to hear stories about the many reasons students chose Mizzou, including our outstanding and comprehensive academic offerings, our innovative research and an unparalleled campus experience.”

This year, 87.6% of freshmen from the 2018-19 school year returned to Mizzou, the highest retention rate on record. Additionally, underrepresented minority enrollment in the freshman class increased by 4.2%.

Other preliminary figures indicate that the best and brightest students in Missouri chose Mizzou. The average ACT score of 26 is above the state (20) and national (20.8) averages, and the number of students who have an ACT of 30 or more increased by more than 37%.

“Student success is at the heart of everything we do at Mizzou,” said Kim Humphrey, vice provost for Enrollment Management. “Every decision, every program, is centered on making student success a priority. The fact that we have such a large freshman class shows that students and their families recognize the value of a Mizzou education and degree.”

New scholarships announced during the 2017-18 year, Cartwright’s first year as chancellor, have made Mizzou more attractive and affordable for thousands of students. Over the last two years Mizzou has lowered housing, dining and textbooks costs and expanded scholarship opportunities, including Missouri Land Grant Scholars, Border State Scholars, ROTC scholarships and scholarships for transfer students.

Last year, Mizzou celebrated its first Nobel Prize winner, George P. Smith, who was awarded the esteemed prize in chemistry. This accomplishment was just one of many in research. The university also broke ground on the $221 million NextGen Precision Health Institute, a central research facility that will train a new generation of health care scientists and practitioners who will help Missouri address the health care needs of the future.

This week Mizzou will share other preliminary data from the first day of class, including increases in:

  • MIZZOUMACC, a partnership between the University of Missouri and Moberly Area Community College that ensures a seamless transition between the two schools.
  • Both transfer and online enrollment.
  • Fraternity and sorority life recruitment.
  • Number of returning students choosing to live on campus.

“New students, returning students, faculty, staff and alumni around the world have plenty to celebrate,” Cartwright said. “It’s a good day at Mizzou, and I know that we have even brighter things ahead.”

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of news releases about the MU academic year that will be distributed by the MU News Bureau this week.

Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Change
Freshman Enrollment 4,696 5,459 + 16.25%
Total Enrollment 29,407 29,677 + 0.92%
Mean ACT (freshman class) 25.93 26.25 + 1.22%
Minority Enrollment 4,319 4,501 + 4.21%
Retention Rate 87.3% 87.6% + 0.34%


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