SEMO enrollment bump a positive sign

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's hardly a surprise anymore, but we are nonetheless pleased and impressed by the continued strong enrollment at Southeast Missouri State University.

As reporter Mark Bliss pointed out in a story last week, the university began classes with the highest student-retention rate in recent school history, and a 10.6 percent increase in beginning freshman enrollment, according to school officials.

Enrollment reached 11,536 at Southeast, a 1.1 percent increase over last year's figures. Bliss reported that 74.3 percent of new students last fall returned this year. The numbers are preliminary, but they look good. Total enrollment includes students registered at regional campuses in Malden, Kennett and Sikeston.

Student enrollment from the St. Louis market increased again, by 22 percent. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success, said officials were a bit worried a couple of years ago about a stagnant market share, but credits a new marketing strategy to giving the student body a boost. The university also is drawing more students from Illinois, a 50 percent increase from four years ago.

Enrollment at the Cape College Center, located at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center stood, at 176, up 11 percent from last year.

Last year, enrollment dipped just slightly after 20 consecutive years of enrollment growth.

It was a positive sign to see the numbers increase this year, even if slightly.

These numbers aren't eye-popping, but they are consistently over time headed in an upward direction and indicative of a healthy growth pattern for the university.

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