University of Missouri paid 160over90 $1.3 million to recruit students

The school's freshman class shrank by one-third over two years, since anti-racism protests in 2015.

Image via AdamProcter / Wikimedia Commons, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Image via AdamProcter / Wikimedia Commons, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

COLUMBIA, MO: Following anti-racism protests in 2015 that dented the University of Missouri’s image, the school reportedly paid branding shop 160over90 millions of dollars to help beef up the freshman class, which has shrunk by one-third over two years.

In July 2017, Missouri hired 160over90 for $1.3 million. The firm is contracted to work with the school until 2020, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"The university then spent a total of $1.8 million on marketing, specifically targeted toward recruiting and enrolling the fall 2018 freshman class," The Chronicle’s senior reporter Sarah Brown told PRWeek.

Missouri spent about $230 per student who paid a deposit for this fall. Roughly 4,600 students have so far, Brown said. 160over90’s work also includes general brand sentiment and marketing targeted at parents and students.

Missouri gained notoriety in 2015 after several hate speech incidents sparked student protests. Then-president Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned over their handling of the incidents. Controversy was further fanned when Melissa Click, a comms professor, threatened a student journalist. Click resigned shortly after.

Separate from The Chronicle’s reporting, the school also hired Edelman, known for its work around Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky scandal. Edelman was reportedly paid $250,000-$350,000 for work that took place between June 2016 to July 2017; the firm was hired again through the following June for $123,600.

It remains unclear if the $1.8 million set aside for marketing also included Edelman.

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