Local colleges satisfied with enrollment numbers

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Colleges in the area start getting back to class in the next couple of weeks, and for those starting at a new college, it’s sure to be a bit different.

People may have expected to see that numbers for incoming freshmen or transfer students dropped, but education officials say things are much better than even the colleges expected.

At Drury, Director of Admissions Lindsay Tobin says they set a goal even before the pandemic hit to get 400 new students in for the fall. It’s a goal that they are currently in reach of.

“Our goal, we have set it at 400. We’re roughly right about 97%, 98% to that goal. We are just about there, and we’re still enrolling students,” says Tobin.  

Just down the street at OTC, Communications Director Mark Miller says over the summer they actually saw a surge in enrollment. He says OTC was up 14% overall, and online alone up 70%. Miller says this fall, things won’t be that high, but they won’t be too far below where they were at this time last year either.

“Right now overall across our six locations, we’re down 5% compared to the fall of 2019, which right now we consider not too bad. Where we’re seeing the most decline is in new students, and our high school dual credit students,” says Miller.

Miller says most of that is attributed to uncertainty about the fall. Across town at Missouri State University, Admissions Director Teresa Haney says the number of students who have either paid or deferred payment to student loans is down just 38 students as of Monday.

“Even before COVID, we were anticipating that we may be a bit down this year, so we are very happy and satisfied that it looks like we’re going to be pretty even to last year’s numbers,” Haney says.

In a press conference today, President Clif Smart said International students will be their biggest deficit. “Overall I’d anticipate we’d be down in the nature of 500-800 students before we talk about the dual credit students that are in high school that is taking college classes in high school,” says Smart.

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