The new school year begins with a report that enrollment at Southeast Missouri State University increased by 6.4 percent this year. That's good news for the university, including enrollment boosts at its higher education centers in the Bootheel.
Southeast and Three Rivers Community College, formerly partners in the learning centers, are now competing for students. TRCC has opened centers of its own, including one in Scott City.
The total number of students at the Southeast learning centers in Malden, Sikeston and Kennett increased from 695 in 2004 to 1,154 this year.
Freshmen enrolled on the Southeast campus number 1,484, a 12.1 percent boost from 2004. That is the biggest freshman class in the past 10 years.
Enrollment gains are just one measure of the university's efforts to serve this area, but it is an important indicator for the school's business, governmental and alumni supporters.