By 1921, the college had expanded to offer graduate programs and was officially designated a university by the state of Missouri. It changed its name to "Lincoln University of Missouri." In 1954, it opened its doors to applicants of all races. It provides both undergraduate and graduate courses.
Lincoln University participates at the NCAA Division II level in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). Lincoln competed in the MIAA from 1970 to 1999 when it left because it did not have a football team since 1989. The university competed in the Heartland Conference from 1999–2010, of which, Lincoln is a founding conference member. The school revitalized its football program and reentered the MIAA in 2010. The Lincoln University Women's Track Team has made NCAA Division II history by winning the Outdoor Track and Field Championships five consecutive times.
The school has programs in the following sports:
Founder's Day, traditionally held on the first Saturday of February, pays tribute to the Founders of Lincoln University. Homecoming, usually held in October, is a celebratory time where family and friends of Lincoln University convene to participate in gala activities. Springfest, usually held in late April, is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring with games and other activities throughout the week.