The University of Missouri-Rolla is again breaking with the national trends that show a decrease in the number of students interested in studying mathematics, engineering, and science. Enrollment on the first day of classes at UMR is expected to be 5,663, an increase of 234 students over last year’s figure of 5,429, says Laura Stoll, UMR registrar. The total enrollment is now more than 30 percent larger than that of fall 2000 when the university opened with 4,256 students.
“We are very happy to attract one of the largest, most diverse and highly talented new student classes in the university’s history,” says UMR Chancellor John F. Carney III. “I thank the UMR faculty and community for all of their efforts to add additional classes and accommodations to properly serve all of the students.”
Demand for UMR’s first-year engineering program is at an all-time high with more than 805 students already registered. To prepare for the increases, last May the university started adding instructors and class sections and allowed transfer students to live outside of university housing.
The freshman class is expected to be one of the three largest in UMR’s history. Currently there are 981 freshmen enrolled. There were 899 freshmen enrolled on the first day of class last year. New students from 29 different states and more than 15 foreign countries will start classes on Monday. About 60 percent of the new students represent the upper 20 percent of their high school graduating classes. This year’s average ACT score, a measure of the quality of the freshman class, was again in the upper 10 percent in the nation.
“This class is academically strong and more diverse,” says Lynn Stichnote, director of admissions at UMR. “The early enrollment reflects major increases in the number of women and minority students, as well as a significant increase in the number of new students in the business, arts and sciences programs.”
About 60 percent of the increased enrollment is due a higher number of students returning to university.
“Student success is a top priority at UMR,” says Carney. “Our high student retention rates are a result of the efforts our excellent faculty and the many new student support programs initiated over the past few years.”
Increasing the student retention and graduation rates have been a key part of UMR’s strategic plan for the past six years.
“UMR attracts a very special type of student body, one that is now of national importance due to rapidly declining interests in the engineering and science fields,” says Harvest Collier, vice provost of undergraduate and graduate studies. “I believe students recognize that the Rolla community is one of the few places in the nation that provides the caring attitude and early academic intervention systems that help today’s Generation Y students succeed at high levels.”
The total enrollment is expected to be more than 5,720 once students finish enrolling in fall classes. “We will continue to enroll students through the first few weeks of the fall semester,” says Jay Goff, UMR dean of enrollment management. “We usually gain well over 70 enrolled students by the end of registration.”
The official fall semester enrollment numbers will be released after the fourth week of classes. Classes begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21.