As Mizzou sees enrollment declines, MSU sees increases

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. As enrollment numbers continue to drop, the University of Missouri is making deep cuts, including some 185 jobs. That is in stark contrast to Missouri State University where the school has seen record enrollment for six consecutive years.

Numbers show last year's freshman class at Mizzou was down to about 4,100 students. That is in comparison to the 6,500 the school saw in enrollment in previous years.

"I fully expect them to completely recover from this, but it's going to take four to five years," said MSU President Clif Smart.

Smart said those declining numbers, combined with the state dollars every public university lost, had to lead to cuts. However Missouri State managed to make much less dramatic cuts even after losing some $15 million as enrollment at the Springfield-based school continued to climb.

"I don't know the connection between the problems the University of Missouri had and our enrollment growth because we've been on a growth trajectory really since 2001," Smart said.

"I think it's good for our state that our flagship university is thriving again and is doing good things," he said.

However, the stigma associated with the state's flagship university, following protests making national headlines, may still be making an impact, at least according to students.

"I believe it has to do with diversity and inclusion would probably be one of the biggest things, and that's one of the things we've been working on over here," said Ambassador V. Mitchell, a graduate student at Missouri State.

"MSU has been very very proactive in stepping it up in diversity and inclusion," Mitchell said.

Higher education leaders across the area are hopeful they will see their budgets restored under Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

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