Mizzou attributes decline in applications to racial unrest

Applications for enrollment are noticeably down for the upcoming school year, and administrators blame the recent campus protests for scaring away prospects.

“While we don’t have any clear data, we know that the events this past fall have had an impact, and we are answering any questions that parents and students have about those events,” Director of Admissions Chuck May told the Columbia Missourian.

Citing initial reports published Monday by the school’s Office of Enrollment, the article reports that the school has received 18,377 applications so far for the fall semester, down 4.87 percent compared to the same time last year and representing a decrease of nearly 1,000 submissions.

The drop was even sharper with respect to graduate student applications, which fell 19 percent compared to last year.

The decreases do not seem to be limited to a specific ethnic group, however, with African-American applications dropping by three percent, a figure more-or-less in line with the overall decrease.

May cautioned that the decrease is likely not due solely to trepidation over campus unrest, though, saying the school was already expecting a drop in applications due to demographic factors and increased competition.

“It is very early in the year to make predictions on application numbers," May said. "We’ve anticipated a decline in numbers due to decreases in the number of high school graduates throughout the Midwest and increased competition, especially in the Chicago market.”

Yet others, such as the unofficial alumni group Truth Matters MU, have been expecting the fall in applications since racial protests first erupted on campus in September.

[RELATED: Alumni group seeks to ‘end divisiveness’ at Mizzou]

“We’re starting to hear from students, and from parents who are concerned about the safety of their children,” Russ Jones, the organization’s founder, told Campus Reform in November. “Students are concerned that if they disagree with some of the claims, they’ll be pegged as racists.”

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