20 Years and Growing: Southeast Marks Two Decades of Steady Enrollment Growth

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 26, 2014 – Southeast Missouri State University today marks two consecutive decades of steady enrollment growth as the fall 2014 semester begins and the first-day census indicates a flourishing student population.

Today’s enrollment report shows total student headcount at 11,580, up 2 percent from this time last year. Enrollment is expected to continue to grow through the fourth-week census when the figure is expected to surpass last year’s record enrollment of 11,917 students, University officials said. Southeast’s fall 2014 semester began Aug. 25.

Beginning freshmen enrollment has grown by 132 students or 7.6 percent and today stands at 1,859.

Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success and dean of students, said today’s first-day figures reflect growth in enrollment both in Cape Girardeau County and throughout the southeast Missouri region.

“One of the most significant areas of growth in beginning freshmen occurred in Cape Girardeau County – 187 in 2013 versus 244 in 2014,” she said. “This represents an increase of 30 percent.”

Below also noted that interest in Southeast’s new dual credit offerings continues to grow. Dual credit enrollment is up 169 students or 37 percent over this time last year, she said. In addition, Hispanic American student headcount has grown to 186 students, which is 25 more than at this time last fall.

Also key to the University’s enrollment growth is the number of students taking only online courses. Below says the number of students taking only online coursework has surpassed 1,000 for the first time and now stands at 1,086.

“The start of the school year is always an exciting time.  It is wonderful to see current students return to campus and the collaboration that happens to connect new students to resources to ensure their success,” said Lenell Hahn, director of Admissions. “Last year, we welcomed students to the new LaFerla Hall, expanded Magill Hall and renovated Academic Hall.  This year, we have the new River Campus Center to contribute to our outstanding learning environment and offer a housing option for students at the River Campus.

“The mathematics lab and writing center have moved to Memorial Hall and will provide excellent access to these key academic resources,” she said. “New education majors have been eager to receive their new iPads as part of the College of Education’s Edvolution so they can become leaders in the use of this educational technology. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Southeast community.”

Many beginning freshmen say the University’s outstanding academic programs drew them to

Ezra McKenzie of Guys, Tennessee, is pursuing a cybersecurity degree.

“There really aren’t that many schools with cybersecurity” programs, said the Adamsville High School graduate and recipient of a Regents’ Scholarship.

EVT-ConvocationBreiona Catching of St. Louis and a Hazelwood East High School graduate, says she plans to study forensic chemistry.

“A lot of other schools weren’t offering my major,” she said.

Catching said she’s hoping her studies at Southeast will prepare her for a career in a crime lab of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Catching is one of six UNCF Scholarship recipients beginning at Southeast this fall. UNCF is the nation’s largest minority education organization. Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion to help more than 400,000 students receive college degrees at UNCF-member institutions and with UNCF scholarships. UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college.

Danielle Childers of Cape Girardeau and a Saxony High School graduate, said getting a quality education is the number one reason she chose Southeast. The University offered her the opportunity to stay close to home while also pursuing a biomedical sciences/pre-med major.

Though she has grown up in the area, Childers, a Regents’ Scholarship recipient and Saxony valedictorian, said she was unfamiliar with the campus. Now she intends on earning her undergraduate degree at Southeast en route to attending medical school and becoming a dermatologist.

Peyton Mogley, a beginning freshman from Chesterfield, Missouri, and a Parkway Central High School graduate, agreed.

“I’m really excited about the educational experience,” she said.

Though Mogley is currently undecided on a major, she is considering marketing, teaching and exercise science.

Mogley, Catching and McKenzie attended Camp Redhawk over the summer, reaffirming their decision to attend Southeast.

“I loved it,” Mogley said. “I think it’s amazing that they just started doing this.”

Camp Redhawk is a transitional leadership camp offered for the first time this summer for new students preparing to enter their first semester at Southeast. Camp Redhawk introduced new students to campus life and traditions, immersed them in school spirit and allowed them to meet other new students preparing to begin their college experience at Southeast. Participants became familiar with the campus and its resources, and were housed in Southeast’s residence halls.

“I really enjoyed it,” Catching said. “I feel like I’m more prepared to go to school and know what to expect.”

McKenzie said Camp Redhawk was “fun and informative.”

Beginning freshman Maurice Wallace of St. Louis also attended Camp Redhawk. Now on campus for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, Wallace has declared a social work major. First and foremost, he says he chose Southeast because it “is a good school” where he hopes “to get a good education… I just want to make this a great year.”