By Jennifer DeHaemers
UMKC Assistant Vice Chancellor
The University of Missouri – Kansas City is once again experiencing record enrollment for the Fall 2009 semester. Preliminary numbers from the first day of classes indicate 13,022 students are enrolled which is an increase of 5.63 percent over the previous fall’s enrollment. When the official enrollment is counted in September, UMKC expects to enroll over 14,500 students.
Continuing student enrollment increased by 5 percent, a trend we’ve been seeing for several years; this is likely a sign of improved satisfaction among students as well as perhaps a sign of the times. Enrollment of new transfer students is up 16 percent, the largest gain in that population in many years. UMKC attributes this increase to initiatives with local community colleges as well as excellent transfer scholarships.
Another reason for the increases in enrollment is no doubt the emphasis that UMKC is placing on residential life and providing more opportunities for students to live on campus. Five years ago, Oak Street Hall opened with 550 beds and the residential population more than doubled overnight. In August 2008, Oak Place Apartments opened on property formerly occupied by Twin Oaks apartments. This brought an additional 500 students to campus housing and the total number of students living on UMKC’s campus to about 1,400.
This fall, the new Herman and Dorothy Johnson Hall, named for long-time African American civic leaders in Kansas City, opened with housing for 330 students allowing the university to take Cherry Street Hall, the original residence hall, offline as student housing. Students living in this residence hall will have many opportunities for community service and engagement as this is a component of the programming in this hall.
UMKC’s goals are to grow its undergraduate population and to create a vibrant campus life experience for students. If the enrollment gains and extra energy on campus are any indication, they are well on their way to meeting these goals.