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Lincoln University looking for solutions to enrollment losses

Lincoln University
Lincoln University


A panel of Lincoln University curators is expected to hear more about the university's significant enrollment decline and recruiting efforts Thursday.

On Tuesday, the full board of curators learned that the university's enrollment has dropped 41% in the past nine years.

According to the university, the average student enrollment from 2000-2011 was 3,241 students. Through 2014, the enrollment was above 3,000. In 2015, enrollment was reported at 2,944.

The agenda for Thursday's 1 p.m. meeting of the Board of Curators Academic/Student Affairs Committee says the committee will discuss actions that can be taken to reverse the trend.

Lincoln University President Jerald Woolfolk said Wednesday that the decline in the high school graduation rate is a contributing factor to the sustained drop.

"We know that across the county, not just in Missouri, the high school graduation rate is declining drastically," Woolfolk. "Even before COVID-19, we knew that in 2025, there was going to be a significant pandemic in terms of enrollment because of the number of students who are coming out of high school."

According to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s report on high school graduates released March 3, enrollment of recent high school graduates in colleges and universities declined 6.3% between fall 2019 and fall 2020.

The report says this was comparable to the decline in FAFSA filing and
total population of public colleges and universities.

The report states that total enrollment at Missouri secondary education schools from 2010 to 2020 has decreased by 18.5% overall. From 2019-2020, this category saw a total decline of 6.3% enrollment.

Woolfolk said the coronavirus pandemic will likely depress numbers further.

"COVID-19 has had a huge impact on student enrollment, all across the country," Woolfolk said.

Check back for updates to this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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