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Lincoln University suffers from declining enrollment and faces concerns from previous students who left the university.

That's the bad news. The good news is the university is acknowledging the problems and appears serious about addressing them.

As we recently reported, concerns about safety on campus and poor customer service have caused some students to leave Lincoln University.

That's one of the main takeaways of a brutally honest report based on interviews with former students.

"If I were to boil this down into a really, really small description of what we need to do, I would say campus security and customer service," Curator Terry Rackers said in a News Tribune story earlier this week.

But how legitimate are the report's findings? LU hired Hanover Research, a custom market research and analytics firm, to conduct the report. However, Hanover only conducted 10 in-depth interviews with students who dropped out of Lincoln between 2017-20.

The research company said it sent letters to thousands of former Lincoln students, even offering $30 incentives, but ended up with only 10 to interview.

LU Interim President John Moseley also expressed concern about the low number of former students interviewed. But he said the university already had identified customer service as an area to improve upon based on surveys in 2019 and earlier this year.

Lincoln is paying the company $135,000 over three years for three reports. We question the value the university is getting from Hanover, at least on this first report, based on the limited interviews it was able to conduct.

The second report is a geographic assessment scan of undergraduate programs in Missouri. And the third report is a first-year student survey not yet complete.

According to the first report, students initially enrolled at LU because of its welcoming, tight-knit community, designation as a historically Black university, proximity to home and affordability.

Moseley and the Board of Curators seem sincere about addressing the problems and having the university deliver on these expectations.

"We're looking at everything we do and trying to figure out how to make it better across every area on our campus," Moseley said.

We hope Moseley and everyone else at Lincoln can work as a team to do just that.

News Tribune

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