Enrollment Management

SMSU System enrollment

With a selective admissions campus in Springfield and an open admissions campus in West Plains, Southwest Missouri State University seeks to provide broad educational opportunities for students in southwest Missouri and throughout the state. Through a comprehensive enrollment management plan, SMSU expects to dramatically alter its enrollment mix by 1999-2000 and to manage the total system enrollment down slightly to 17,825 while significantly improving retention. Enrollment on the Springfield Campus is expected to move downward to 16,325, then as new programs are implemented, it will move toward a level of 17,500, as recommended by the Enrollment Management Committee.

Chart H

Enrollment projections

  Springfield Campus West Plains Campus Total
(Base Year)
17,500 1,100 18,600
1995-96 16,850 1,150 18,000
1996-97 16,500 1,175 17,675
1997-98 16,450 1,300 17,750
1998-99 16,300 1,400 17,700
1999-2000 16,325 1,500 17,825


Springfield campus


During the 1980s there was an emphasis on enrollment growth at SMSU. Under new leadership, a firm position has been taken regarding total enrollment levels on the Springfield campus. The Board of Regents has taken a bold step by recommending that selective admissions standards be implemented for the university's Springfield Campus. The Regents also approved the enrollment management recommendations which set the optimum enrollment at 17,500 on the Springfield Campus. This compares with 1992 when enrollment on the Springfield Campus peaked at 19,766. The university is committed to managing enrollment to this 17,500 optimum level. As SMSU begins the fall semester 1999, the goal is for 90 percent of the new freshmen to meet the selective admissions standard.

The planned enrollment level for the Springfield Campus was set after considering the five central themes, the university mission, SMSU's responsibility to the citizens of Missouri, the infrastructure capacity at the institution, and the Board's decision to become a selective admissions university. It represents an optimum enrollment level, given the needs of the various constituents throughout the state, the demographics which indicate an increased pool of high school graduates over the next 10 years, and the thematic emphasis which will shape the future of the university.

Further, SMSU plans to increase the proportion of graduate to undergraduate students from 9 percent to 14 percent by the year 2000, enhance standards for all graduate programs, and have a larger percentage of SMSU graduate students enrolled as full-time day students.

The university has committed itself to selective admissions status, which represents a significant challenge. In fact, no other state institution has selected a status which requires a change of this magnitude. The process of implementing selective admissions standards will be phased in over a five-year period. This responsible approach will allow for an orderly transition and time for the student population to prepare for success.

While an ultimate Springfield Campus enrollment of 17,500 is a long-term goal, the university anticipates declines in enrollment while the selective standards are phased in and important new majors are implemented. Models are currently being developed to project the impact of the core requirements, higher minimum class rank, increased ACT scores, and increased competition from the regional campuses (Central, Southern, Southeast, Northwest, Western). Even with enhanced recruiting efforts, there will be a decline in enrollment projected over the remainder of the decade. The total enrollment on the Springfield Campus could decline to 16,300 students before it begins to grow at the start of the next century. In the year 1999, the undergraduate enrollment could be as low as 14,100 even with retention rates increasing due to IDS 110 (orientation course), enhanced mentoring, and expanded retention efforts.

The university has created an enrollment management plan in which selective admissions requirements will be phased in, as will the plan for academic change. Information which provides the required minimum standards for fall 1995 and fall 1996 was distributed in fall 1993. In fall 1996 or spring of 1997, an updated communication will be sent to all high schools which indicates the increased standards to be used in 1997 (21 ACT or a selection score 96), and 1998 (22 ACT or selection score of 104). This second phase will occur automatically if the fall 1996 total enrollment on the Springfield Campus is 16,475 or higher. If total enrollment is less than this level, the university will proceed with the implementation only after a reaffirmation of the plan by the Board of Regents. The current goal is to raise the standard for fall 1999 to a 24 ACT and class rank of top two-thirds, or a selection score of 120.

With its renewed commitment to enrollment management, SMSU will enhance the educational experience and prepare a group of future leaders for success. As new admissions standards are implemented over the remainder of the decade, the student body will reflect a renewed interest in academic excellence and the learning process. Students who are better prepared for success will be more diligent in drawing upon the academic and co-curricular resources available at SMSU.

The university community fully recognizes that student success is dependent on increased preparation and motivation within the student body, as well as improved attention to student needs and expectations on the part of the faculty and staff. A university-wide Enrollment Management Committee has been formed to evaluate and enhance enrollment variables which include:

  • marketing and recruiting
  • advising and retention
  • curriculum and instruction
  • public perception
  • student life
  • data and information
  • facilities and environment.

A successful enrollment management program must transcend the admissions and recruitment process and permeate the university to promote student success and satisfaction. Successful implementation of a campus-wide enrollment management plan will result in an educated graduate who is prepared to exercise responsible leadership as a citizen and who will become an active participant in public affairs.

SMSU recognizes that future leaders must understand the relationship of the United States to other nations of the world. An expanded international student enrollment will be another way to prepare SMSU graduates to compete in a global society, while bringing to campus qualified students, students who will contribute their culture, heritage, values and perspectives.

Admission plan for first-time freshmen and transfer students

The selective admission requirements will apply to graduates of accredited high schools who have completed fewer than 24 transferable credit hours at another college or university. Students must meet both the minimum requirements and the additional requirements, as well as the high school core requirement, beginning in the fall 1996 semester.

With respect to transfer students, standard practice allows credits of C or better to be transferred. Further, many state university systems admit students with a 2.0 grade point average and 24 credits who may not have been admissible as a first time full time freshman. As part of its migration to selective admission SMSU will complete an individual evaluation of transfer work and accept students from Missouri institutions who have a 2.0 GPA and meet the core requirements. As SMSU's enrollment management capacity becomes more selective and priority programs are supported, the university can begin to create pools of transfer applicants from which a desired number of candidates can be selected.

If SMSU is to achieve the goals identified -- implementation of selective admissions, an enhanced graduation rate, an improved retention ratio, an expanded minority enrollment, an academically stronger student body, and enhanced participation in the five theme areas -- it will need improved funding for scholarships in priority areas, additional staff to offer improved services, additional academic programs, and enhanced automated system support.

Chart I

Estimated fall enrollment -- Springfield campus


Year Freshmen Other Undergraduates Graduates Total FTE
(Base Year)
2,950 12,850 1,700 17,500 14,000
1995-96 2,600 12,525 1,725 16,850 13,500
1996-97 2,450 12,275 1,775 16,500 13,180
1997-98 2,400 12,075 1,975 16,450 13,140
1998-99 2,300 11.950 2,050 16,300 13,040
1999-2000 2,250 11,850 2,225 16,325 13,060

Chart J

Admission plan for first-time freshmen -- Springfield campus

The following admission requirements will apply to graduates of accredited high schools who have completed fewer than 24 transferable credit hours at another college or university. Students must meet both the minimum requirements and the additional requirements, as well as the high school core requirement beginning in the fall semester of 1996.

Minimum requirements

Academic Year
of admission
ACT* and Class Rank
1995-96 18 and 33
1996-97 18 and 33
1997-98 18 and 33
1998-99 18 and 33
1999-2000 18 and 33

Additional requirements

Academic Year
of admission
ACT* or Sum of ACT and
high school percentile**
1995-96 19 or 80
1996-97 20 or 88
1997-98 21 or 96
1998-99 22 or 104
1999-2000 24 or 120

High school core curriculum

Academic Year
of admission

High School Core Curriculum



1996-97 Required
1997-98 Required
1998-99 Required
1999-2000 Required

*ACT composite score. SAT scores will also be accepted for admission purposes and will be converted to ACT equivalents.

**ACT composite, converted to percentile based on national norms, plus high school class rank expressed as a percentile
(class size - position in class / class size)

West Plains campus

SMSU-West Plains will continue as an open admissions campus serving the seven-county region in south-central Missouri. As SMSU-West Plains adds two-year degree programs to implement its expanded mission, enrollment is expected to steadily climb, reaching a high of 1,500 by fall 1999. Area business and industry will benefit from this growth as the West Plains Campus prepares students for careers to meet the needs of the seven-county area.