25-Year Assumptions

As Missouri State University moves forward toward achieving the goals of its 2011-16 long-range plan, it acknowledges a certain set of assumptions about the future. What follows provides not only the environmental assumptions of that view of the future, but the desired characteristics that may result.


  • Springfield and the surrounding region will continue significant population growth.
  • In 25 years, Springfield is predicted to have: significantly more diversity, a population of 250,000 and an MSA approaching 650,000-700,000.
  • Springfield will continue to grow and be a regional center for health care and industry.
  • Meanwhile, Missouri will have only very modest population growth.
  • Missouri will have a higher percentage of high school graduates attend and attain a certificate, two-year, four-year or graduate degree.


  • A significantly larger percentage of new job creation will require some college and the fraction requiring a graduate degree will expand.
  • Health care, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and education will continue to be major factors in the economic development of Springfield and southwest Missouri.


  • Missouri State will experience modest growth, approaching 27,000 within 10 years — about 24,000 on the Springfield campus and 3,000 on the West Plains campus.
  • The student body will look more like the world.
  • The trend for students to start college in two-year institutions will continue upward.
  • Full-time residential students will have continued to shrink as a proportion of our student body.
  • The number of working adults taking courses and seeking degrees will increase, with a heavy reliance on technology for delivery.
  • Changes in the state scholarship programs will affect enrollment, most notable will be an increased emphasis on needs-based financial aid.
  • An increasing proportion of student credit hours will be generated by graduate programs.
  • There will be an increase in selected baccalaureate and master’s degrees.
  • There will be an increase in doctoral programs, initially clinical doctorates and ultimately a limited number of PhD programs.


  • At best, state funding will remain static.
  • Out of necessity, the cap on tuition will be modified or eliminated.
  • As a result, the percentage of funding from the state will continue to decline, reaching the 20-25 percent level.
  • The importance of growing other sources of revenue (private funding, federal earmarks, sponsored grants/programs) will continue to increase.
  • It is possible there will be significant changes in the way in which students are charged — for example, increased use of differential tuition by academic programs.


  • Interdisciplinary work will be more prevalent and important.
  • Interactive technologies will be fully integrated into how we teach and learn — wireless, mobile, voice-activated, remote access and delivery.
  • Opportunities for internationalization will continue to expand.
  • There will be a continued need for specialized spaces for instruction, including laboratories.
  • Campus and/or students will become wireless.
  • The current method of lecturing will be replaced, at least in part, with alternative teaching methods.
  • The four-year model of a college degree will move to a differentiated time frame; examples include the following:
    • Three years of classroom instruction and one year of practicum
    • Three-year degrees/five-year degrees
  • The “contract education” model will be used more often.
  • Developing educational partnerships of all kinds will continue to be important.


  • There will be changes in higher education in terms of governance, consolidation, elimination — details unclear, but will look different than 2012. One result could be a larger Missouri State System including other existing institutions.
  • Public-private partnerships will be numerous and necessary.