UCM Foresees Increase in Fall Enrollment

Projected headcount for fall up 10%

  Enrollment for both undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Central Missouri for fall 2023 is trending about 10% higher than fall 2022, according to Chris Lang, assistant vice provost for admissions and analytics.   

  “As we stand now, looking at incoming students, we are trending up for fall from 2022,” Lang said. Lang added the estimations for the fall take into account new students who have registered for orientation, as well as the enrollment of international and graduate students. 

  He also said, the number of applications and acceptance rates for both international and graduate students are higher than past years.

  As for the incoming freshman and transfer students, Lang said their application numbers were a little lower than in the past but the university is seeing a higher yield rate in that population.

  Yield refers to the number of admitted students that enroll in the university, and Lang said the University of Central Missouri’s yield rate is getting better than what it has been in the past.  

  “Our enrollment has been strong the past couple of years, since the fall of 2020 our headcount has grown about 16%,” Lang said. “Nationwide, it has dropped about 2% and in Missouri in general it has dropped about 5.8% in that timeframe.”

  “So, while the overall trend in higher ed is decreasing enrollment, we have been growing in those times, since fall of 2020,” Lang said.

  UCM’s headcount for fall 2022 was 11,637 students, which puts it back to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers.  

  “We had about a 10% increase in headcount in fall of 2022, and that was the highest out of most public schools in the states of Missouri and Kansas,” Lang said. 

  Lang said that higher education in general has not gotten back to pre-pandemic enrollment yet.

  These increases can be attributed to an increase in marketing, aligning programs to meet the needs of students, faculty outreach and scholarship changes. 

  Lang said faculty are very involved in recruitment events, from campus-wide visit days to one-on-one meetings with potential students. 

  “When students are thinking about choosing a university, it is the faculty they want to talk to, since they are going to be spending four years of their college career with,” Lang said. 

  “We work really hard to make sure that the experience they get when they come here is above and beyond what they expected,” Britni Hume, assistant director for New Student Programs, said. 

  Unlike other institutions, UCM allows potential students to sign up to meet with faculty in their areas of interest during daily visit days. 

  “A lot of other institutions cannot do that, whether it is because of how large they are or how small they are, and we are right in the middle as a mid-sized institution,” Hume said. “We are the perfect balance, and our faculty cares about meeting with potential students, and that is something unique to UCM.” 

  “The entire campus is getting involved in recruitment,” Lang said. “Recruitment is extremely important in higher education now with how competitive things are, with how high school graduation rates are going to be dropping over the next few years, making it harder to get more traditional-aged students.”

   Hume said admissions is focused on meeting potential students where they are at. 

  “It used to be you went to a college fair, the students came to you and the parents came to you to ask all the questions,” Hume said. “Now you have to get students to recognize your brand on social media, they have to be hearing about UCM on Pandora and Spotify and then taking action.”

  “It is on all platforms, doing all types of things, to meet students where they are at,” Hume said. 

  Hume said the trend in higher education is personalization, tailoring student experiences to them and showing off resources on campus. 

  Today’s student activities are done online or with cell phones, but students still want a personal connection Hume said. 

  “Our administration does a good job at anticipating the needs of our students because every campus is going to have dining halls and dorms but in terms of our success services and activities, they always continue to evolve,” Hume said.