For the sixth time in seven years, Lincoln University's enrollment this fall was lower than the previous year.
LU's official census was 2,478 students — a 5.2 percent drop from Fall 2017's 2,622 official enrollment number.
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At the same time, Linn-based State Technical College of Missouri reported a record enrollment for the two-year college, at 1,489 students — including a 16 percent increase in first-year students.
State Tech's increase occurred, in part, from a strong recruiting effort the school has launched in recent years.
State Tech President Shawn Strong said Wednesday: "We have focused on growth to meet Missouri's skilled workforce needs (and) are now at record enrollment."
But Lincoln's continued slide occurred in spite of stepped-up recruiting efforts in recent years — efforts new President Jerald Jones Woolfolk repeatedly has said will be expanded in the coming months.
"It has to be systematic," Woolfolk told the News Tribune Nov. 8 after the most recent Board of Curators meeting.
"We've had to help (some) people understand that there is a way to do this, and there is a method to the madness," she added.
She told the curators applications for first-time students have been growing — and the challenge has been and will continue to be keeping students for their sophomore, junior and senior years.
Student recruitment and retention will be main goals of her new administration, she said, acknowledging she had studied the problem before deciding to accept LU's offer for its chief executive's position.
Among other things, Woolfolk has said since she first visited Jefferson City last February — for her job interview meeting with LU's Curators as well as her visits with the Jefferson City community and various campus groups — Lincoln must renew its efforts to recruit students in Mid-Missouri as well as around the country.
She told curators earlier this month that national publicity on the continued successes of Lincoln's nursing education program only can help the school in its long-term recruitment efforts.
HBCU Digest, a national publication, had reported on LU's Nov. 7 announcement that 100 percent of the LU Nursing School's 37 graduates, from May 2018, had passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and have been licensed as nurses.
Elsewhere in the state, the University of Missouri-Columbia — the state's largest four-year campus — reported it was "one of only two Southeastern Conference universities to experience double-digit growth in new freshmen, while several institutions saw declines in their incoming classes this fall."
MU's freshman enrollment surged by 13 percent — the second-largest jump in MU's freshman class during the past quarter-century — to 4,673 first-time college students.
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But MU's total enrollment was down 3.3 percent from a year ago, with 29,866 students in the fall census, down 1,004 from fall 2017.
Missouri's second-largest campus is Missouri State University, Springfield.
It reported drops in first-time freshmen and in total enrollment.
MSU said its "First Time-New in College" class this fall was 3,010 students, down 173 (or 5.44 percent) from Fall 2017. And its "Total Undergraduate" enrollment this fall was 20,681 students, 164 fewer (or .79 percent) than a year ago.
Part of the four-campus University of Missouri system, Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla has had a long history of attracting students interested in specialty technical fields.
Its fall 2018 total enrollment was 8,607 — a 3.1 percent decrease from last year's numbers.