Local colleges and universities are taking a big hit in enrollment numbers this semester.
Missouri Southern State University officials report their total student number this fall is 5,045 compared to just over 5,600 a year ago – a drop of just under 10 percent.
At Pittsburg State University, the number fell from 6,645 a year ago to 6,398 this fall – a 3.7 percent drop.
Crowder College’s total student count in 2019 was 4,401 compared to 4,197 this fall, representing a 4.6 percent drop.
Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A& M in Miami (NEO) report the school’s total headcount this fall was 1,730 compared with 1,826 one year ago, a 6.8 percent drop.
NEO spokesman Jordan Adams said the school had anticipated a drop and had prepared for a decrease of up to ten percent in total student numbers.
Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott said that, given the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the enrollment decline that higher education has weathered in the past few years, PSU’s decline was not unexpected.
Scott noted the decline was made more modest by the extraordinary efforts of faculty and staff as they have responded to the pandemic.
Scott said that students continue to focus on the value of a college degree and in coming months he hopes Pitt State will begin to see an uptick in enrollment.