Northwest Missouri State University has a total enrollment of 7,104 this fall, an increase of 3.6 percent from a year ago, according to results of the university’s fall census. The total headcount represents the third-highest enrollment in the institution’s history and its fourth above 7,000.
Additionally, the university maintains a high retention rate with 76 percent of last year’s freshman class choosing to return to Northwest this fall. That mark is the second-highest in the university’s history after Northwest logged a record 78 percent retention rate a year ago.
Northwest’s enrollment has risen nearly 11 percent during the last two years.
“Our strong enrollment numbers are illustrative of Northwest’s place as a leader in providing high quality education at a great value and affordable cost,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “We also take pride in our nationally recognized student success initiatives and are grateful for the work our faculty and staff do every day to further our mission of focusing on student success – every student, every day.”
Illustrating its quality, Northwest’s placement rates indicate that 97 percent of bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, names Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.
Northwest also places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory School, National Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the RT Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area and Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.
Northwest’s attention to student success also is evident in its work with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The Washington, DC, based higher education association selected Northwest to partner with AASCU on an effort to validate student success strategies.
In relation to value, Northwest includes textbooks and a laptop in its tuition costs, which are among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $7,400 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to earn money while building professional skills through the internationally benchmarked program.
Eighty-six percent of first-time freshmen receive some form of financial aid, which includes the Northwest’s innovative Bearcat Advantage and American Dream Grant programs. The University also offers low-cost housing, and it implemented a revised rate structure for graduate students that is based on market demand and program offerings rather than a traditional model based on residency.
Furthermore, to help students graduate in four years or less and accrue less debt, Northwest’s “Complete 30” initiative encourages students to take a personalized approach to meeting their academic goals and complete 30 credit hours during the course of an academic year. Additionally, Northwest reduced the number of credits needed to earn a bachelor’s degree from 124 to 120.
Other data points of interest show Northwest’s enrollment of first-time freshmen increased a half-percentage point to 1,335, and 46 percent of those students identify as first-generation college students. Graduate enrollment at Northwest increased by 16 percent, and undergraduate enrollment is up one percent. The number of credit hours in which all Northwest students are enrolled is up by two percent.
Additionally, Northwest reports 1,304 students, or 12 percent of the student population, identify with underrepresented groups or hail from countries outside the United States. Northwest’s total minority enrollment is 860 students, which represents 12 percent of the student body.
The university’s enrollment includes 444 international students, who represent about six percent of Northwest’s student body. They represent 40 countries with the majority of those students coming from India, Nepal, South Korea and Nigeria.
While the university’s in-state student population is 4,679 students, Northwest students represent a total of 40 states this fall as the institution continues to draw well from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
Away from Northwest’s main campus in Maryville, the number of students enrolled in online-only programs increased by 24 percent to 1,230 students, which also represents a 63 percent increase from two years ago. At Northwest-Kansas City, where the university offers a range of coursework, including dual credit offerings and degree completion programs, 517 students are enrolled.