How Mizzou’s struggles could be an opportunity for UMKC

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Truly great cities have one key asset in common: first-class universities that attract top-tier students and faculty.

In this realm, though, Kansas City is still a work in progress.

Fairly or not, the University of Missouri-Kansas City has long been labeled a commuter campus, a not-so-desirable distinction that has bogged the school down and put it in a different echelon than the University of Missouri at Columbia, the flagship of the four-campus system.

But times are changing in higher education. And Mizzou’s standing took another hit this week.

For the first time in recent years, MU was not the first choice of the state’s college-bound seniors.

Missouri State University, tucked into the southern portion of the state in Springfield, nabbed that distinction by a significant margin. This isn’t a rounding error.

More than 4,500 seniors, or 8.5 percent of those reporting, ranked Missouri State as their top choice. Only 7.7 percent of the 53,000 students reporting their college choices picked MU, which placed second among seniors taking the ACT exam.

UMKC should see an opportunity in these rankings. Smaller, less expensive campuses that historically have been overshadowed by Mizzou now are successfully competing for the same students. And while MU is struggling to…

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