Mizzou still has a way to go, but this is probably the best news they’ve had in years.

The Kansas City Star reports:

University of Missouri freshman enrollment jumps, but overall numbers are still down

As the fall semester started Monday, officials at the University of Missouri in Columbia were happy to see a bunch more freshman on campus this year.

After years of MU enrollment decline, this year’s freshman class of 4,696 students represents an increase of 13.1 percent over 4,134 a year ago. That is the biggest freshman jump MU has seen in a decade. But the overall campus enrollment continued to drop.

The university also saw a record 87.3 percent of the previous year’s freshman return for another fall semester.

“Our strong retention rate, which is one of the highest among all of Missouri’s universities, shows us that students have successful academic experiences on campus,” said Kim Humphrey, interim vice provost for enrollment management.

The university also saw a notable boost in the number of returning students moving into campus dorms. Residence halls are 93.4 percent full, compared to 77 percent this time last year.

University officials attributed the increased freshman enrollment in part to efforts to lower costs for students.

The university started a program to cut hundreds of dollars off the cost of textbooks and lower the cost of campus housing and dining plans. In addition the university launched several new scholarships, including its Missouri Land Grants, which covers the difference in tuition and fees for Missouri students who qualify for a federal Pell Grant, given for financial need. This year, 1,500 MU undergraduates benefited.