Final enrollment for the fall semester in Missouri’s higher education institutions shows more rapid growth in private colleges than in state institutions. Eighteen of Missouri’s 32 public institutions of higher learning have shown enrollment increases. But 21 of 25 private institions also show enrollment increases – and their increases are larger. Enrollment in public institutions is up about 1,800 more than the enrollmeent for fall of 2002. But in the private institutions, it’s up about 7,800. Higher Education Commissioner Quentin Wilson thinks higher tuitions at public institutions, caused by cuts in state support, are at least partly behind the difference. Wilson says people still want to attend colleges and unviersities, but he says the flat growth of attendance might indicate Missouri might be hitting a barrier of some kind that might impede future economic growth. Nonetheless, he says the message from the data is that the sky is not falling in as far as attendance is concerned. But it is lagging far behind the numbers of study says Missouri needs to achieve to be among the top-rated states in terms of educaiton and skill level of its population.
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