MU wants to increase new undergrad enrollment to 6,000 by 2023

Nov 28, 2017

MU doesn’t just want to build enrollment by 2023 — it also wants to increase how many students are coming back, finishing degrees and landing jobs within six months of graduating.

A forum for students, faculty and staff Monday drew about 140 people to Memorial Student Union, filling Stotler Lounge, with dozens standing along the back and sides. Many took notes and asked questions as the MU Strategic Enrollment Management Committee revealed five goals to be met by 2023.

The session was led by committee co-chairs Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment management and strategic development, and newly appointed College of Arts and Science Dean Patricia Okker.


Okker briefly presented the five goals:

  • Increasing the number of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree program and graduate credential completions to 10,000. Last year, completions were at 9,150, MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said.
  • Ensuring that 95 percent of undergraduate and graduate and professional students are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. Current numbers are still being finalized; McCune said the goal is based on preliminary numbers the committee gathered.
  • Enhancing student access by adding scholarships, funding, transfer options and other opportunities, and increasing the annual size of new incoming undergraduates to 6,000. This semester, there are 5,136 first-time students, McCune said.
  • Increasing the first-year undergraduate student retention rate to 93 percent. As of August, the rate was 87 percent, the second-highest in MU history.
  • Improving four-year undergraduate graduation rates from 44 percent to 52.8 percent, McCune said.

Okker said the goals were ambitious but appropriate. The first — 10,000 completions by 2023 — would make a difference on a statewide level, she said.

“It certainly would ... meet the needs of our state for an educated workforce that’s not just ready for the jobs of today but the jobs of tomorrow,” Okker said.

Attendees asked practical questions about achieving the goals and wanted more context on how MU ranked in comparison to its peers in the academic Association of American Universities and the athletic Southeastern Conference.


Morrice said the goals were malleable and a starting point for subcommittees that will meet over the next several months. The strategic enrollment management process offers a way to “drill down” from the bigger goals of MU, he said.

“SEM is far more important than just undergraduate admissions,” Morrice said. “It’s really about a much more comprehensive, institutional approach to enrollment.”

The committee is building on other efforts underway in marketing and branding MU, Morrice said in an interview later. Those include the goals of the branding agency 160over90 contracted in July for $1.27 million over three years, such as increasing applications by next fall.

“There’s no question that, for all of these goals, it’s going to be important that people have a good understanding of who Mizzou is and what value we offer,” Morrice said. “We’ve hired a firm that’s going to help us do that.”

The Strategic Enrollment Management Committee will meet this week to discuss campus feedback. It will finalize enrollment goals next week. Subcommittees will meet from December through February 2018 and submit their goals by March 1. The final plan will be presented to the campus community by April 2018.