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Missouri-Columbia campus freshman class projected lower

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ The University of Missouri is expecting its smallest class of incoming freshmen in nearly two decades at its Columbia campus.

The university said in a statement Friday it projects about 4,000 freshmen will enroll at the school in August. That’s a 14-percent drop, down by about 700 students from last year. In 2015, more than 6,000 enrolled.

The shrinking numbers have related at least partly to the 2015 protests on campus over racial issues.

Garnett Stokes, the campus’ interim chancellor, said in Friday’s statement that size of the incoming freshman class “gives us the ability to think carefully about our long-term enrollment planning.”

The university said it has succeeding in retaining students, with 94 percent re-enrolling.