First-day enrollment at UMSL: Larger, smarter incoming freshmen class

UMSL women's basketball teammates (from left) Logan Sims, Angela Johnson, Alexis Lawrence and Emily Brumitt take a break between classes on Aug. 20, the first day of the 2012-13 academic year. First-day undergraduate enrollment was up 1.5 percent over last year as UMSL attracted its largest influx of new students since 1999. (Photo by August Jennewein)

High school graduates are on the decline in Missouri. But the economy – not demographics – appears to be the primary factor affecting enrollment at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. And the campus appears to be holding its own.

First-day undergraduate enrollment (9,328 students) was up 1.5 percent, as the campus attracted its largest influx of new students (2,509) since 1999.

UMSL is experiencing strong growth in nursing (up 20 percent), engineering (up 11 percent) and business (up 3 percent) – areas which relate well in today’s employment picture. The first-time freshmen class is larger (up 5 percent at 535 students) and smarter – at least test-wise. This year’s incoming freshmen set a record with an average ACT score of 24. The transfer class (1974 students) is the second largest in campus history.

Graduate enrollment had been increasing at UMSL after the recession hit in 2008, but an improving job market for college graduates has those numbers moving in the other direction. Graduate/professional enrollment (2,824 students) was down 6 percent.

UMSL expects to match last year’s total enrollment record of 16,800 students when tallies become official Oct. 1. UMSL enrolls a significant number of off-campus students – including dual credit students in area high schools – and typically experiences enrollment growth for the first two weeks of class.

UMSL enrollment by the numbers:
• On-campus enrollment: 12,152 compared to 12,180
• On-campus credit hours: 128,060 compared to 126,259
• Undergraduate enrollment: 9,328 compared to 9,189
• First-time freshmen: 535 compared to 511


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