Northwest Missouri State University trades enrollment with Missouri Western State University at the beginning of the fall semester.

Beginning the 2019-20 academic year, Northwest saw a two percent increase in its total enrollment, in addition to maintaining its high retention rate, while the institution to the south saw a two percent decline.

Northwest entered its first day of classes on August 21 with a total head count of 6,841 students while 76 percent of its 2018 freshman class returned to the university for a second year. The retention rate is the second-highest in the institution’s history after Northwest secured a record 78 percent retention rate last fall.

Northwest’s freshman head count is 1,349, which also represents a two percent increase from last fall. Forty-seven percent of the class are identified as first-generation students, up from 42 percent in fall 2018.

Missouri Western touted a freshman class of “more than 800 freshmen.”

Northwest’s freshman class includes 66 percent of students from within the state, while 13 percent come from Nebraska, 12 percent are from Iowa and five percent are from Kansas. The class represents 17 states and 16 countries.

Additionally, Northwest reports 17 percent of the freshman class comes from underrepresented domestic populations, an increase of five percent since last fall, while two percent are international students, a 17 percent increase from last year.

Northwest’s first-time freshman also are academically strong, entering this fall with an average ACT score of 22, which exceeds state and national averages, and an average high school grade-point average of 3.33.

All enrollment numbers are preliminary until the official census occurs on September 18.