Joplin, MO (SNS) – Overall enrollment at Missouri Southern State University has grown by 3 percent over Fall 2014, with dramatic spikes seen in the number of freshmen, transfer students, international students and the number of credit hours in which students are enrolled.

Numbers provided by the university’s Institutional Effectiveness office show that total enrollment has increased by 3 percent, with 5,783 students enrolled for the Fall 2015 semester, up 170 students from 2014.

A total of 925 freshmen are enrolled in classes at Missouri Southern, up 8 percent from 856 last fall. This represents one of the largest freshman classes in the university’s history.

First-time transfer students are up more than 12 percent – from 581 in 2014 to 652 – which represents a record number for Missouri Southern. The university’s retention efforts are reflected in the number of students who chose to return to Missouri Southern after having not attended for at least one semester, which increased by 18 percent – from 266 last year to 314.

The number of international students, who have traveled from more than 40 different countries to attend Missouri Southern, has grown by 24 over 2014. There are currently 217 international students attending the university, up from 193 – another record.

The number of Missouri residents enrolling at the university increased by 70 students, up more than 1.5 percent, while the number of out-of-state students increased by 76 – an 8 percent increase.

“Having students coming to Missouri Southern from outside the region has a positive impact on the campus and Joplin community,” said Derek Skaggs, director of admissions. “The new residence hall complex and other additions to campus are helping us to attract new students.”

The enrollment gains are reflected in the number of credit hours in which students are enrolled. Missouri Southern students are enrolled in 68,101 credit hours, up 1,938 from 66,163 in 2014 for a gain of 2.9 percent.

Skaggs said the enrollment gains are the result of MSSU’s educational value and efforts by the university to make funds more accessible to students and their families.

“The university has made adjustments in the areas of financial aid and scholarships that have made more funds available to help students receive an outstanding Missouri Southern education,” he said. “More than 30 new Foundation scholarships have been established in the last few months to make more dollars available to students.”

The enrollment increase shows that what Missouri Southern is doing to recruit and retain students is working, said Dr. Alan Marble, university president.

“Clearly, the numbers demonstrate that Missouri Southern has become a higher-education destination of choice for students in the region,” said Marble. “There are so many wonderful things happening on campus – from the development of new programs to the addition of beautiful new facilities and a more student-centric way of operating.

“It makes me tremendously proud of our institution and the commitment by all of the faculty and staff to be of continued service to Missouri Southern and our students.”