Despite more freshman, enrollment falls 4.5% at UM - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Despite more freshman, enrollment falls 4.5% at UM

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MISSOULA – The University of Montana has released numbers that show the incoming freshman class has grown nearly 2% from a year ago.

However, UM has an overall, preliminary fall enrollment headcount of 11,865 students, marking a 4.5% drop in total enrollment at the Missoula campus.

School officials say in a news release that the drop was not unexpected.

The Fall 2017 undergraduate headcount enrollment at the main campus saw 437 fewer students - a 5.5% drop. Meanwhile, the number of graduate students grew by 10%.

UM vice president for enrollment management and student affairs Tom Crady said he was pleased to see the larger freshman class.

“Stabilizing the incoming freshman class is the critical first step to reversing the overall enrollment decline,” Crady said. “It indicates that the new strategies we’re deploying are beginning to yield more students.”

The census also shows Missoula College has 317 fewer students - a drop of 15% -- and is being blamed on a large drop in dual enrollment by high school students.

“If dual enrollment would have stayed even with last year, Missoula College would have been down less than 1 percent,” Crady said. “The reason for the decline in dual enrollment is unclear but may be due to increased interest in the International Baccalaureate Program, similar to dual enrollment, which also is recognized by UM.”

Rosi Keller, UM interim vice president for administration and finance, cautioned that significant budget challenges still exist for the campus.

“We have encouraging enrollment numbers, but we need to understand the mix of resident and nonresident, the full-time students and other factors that will ultimately determine our tuition revenue,” Keller said. “Our current enrollment number includes students who are waiting on late financial aid or, for other reasons, have not finalized their payment. It will be a little later in the term before we have final revenue numbers.”

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