March 27, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Mizzou Applies Economic Bandage in Hopes of Staunching the Bleeding

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The University of Missouri is hemorrhaging students following the political unrest of 2015. What started with a graduate student’s hunger strike, escalated with the football team refusing to play ball unless the University President was fired, and culminated in a journalism professor demanding muscle remove journalism students from protest coverage ended with tanking enrollments, dorm closures, and sweeping budget cuts.

The University of Missouri is applying an economic bandage in the form of free tuition. School officials are hoping to attract students after repelling prospective students during a season of protests.

Leaders of the Show-Me-State’s flagship university announced a plan to stop the bleeding. The law of supply and demand states that as prices fall, demand increases. Missouri officials, it appears, hope to spark demand for their product — a college education– by giving it away for free.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, Mizzou will cover the tuition of first-time freshmen, transfer students and existing students from Missouri who demonstrate financial need. The proposal will cover all tuition not covered by federal Pell grants, which are available to students who meet certain requirements. Honors students from Missouri who meet the requirements will have all tuition and room and board covered.


Pelema Morrice, vice provost of enrollment management, admits the ploy is an attempt to recruit students.

“We’re stepping up our effort in a very assertive way,” she told the Dispatch.

That may be because the floundering university has no other option. This year’s freshman class is the smallest in more than a decade. Out-of state enrollment plummeted by 12 percent, while 6 percent fewer in-state ungrads enrolled in fall 2017 compared to fall 2016. Enrollment is so low, the university closed seven dormitories, and rented space out to eclipse watchers earlier this week to earn a few extra bucks. In June, the flagship university slashed 474 jobs.

Offering free tuition and room and board may help the school re-open dorms next year, but it’s difficult to imagine providing free education will keep the lights on long term. Parents don’t seem all that interested in sending their children and their money to Mizzou after the season of protests. Mizzou is hoping they’ll send their children if they don’t have to open their wallets.










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