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Meet the newest members of the Missoula community: UM's freshman class

Posted at 3:56 PM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 21:19:31-04

MISSOULA — The University of Montana brings in thousands of students to Missoula each year. Meet the newest members of the community—UM’s freshman class.

“The freshman class is big. It's vibrant and it's diverse,” said UM Spokesperson Dave Kuntz.

UM’s census data, going back to 2013, shows a dip in student enrollment. But then a huge increase in enrollment from 2019 through 2021, with 1,555 UM freshmen enrolled this fall semester. An increase that the university believes is on the up and up.

“That's why we're so proud of this enrollment number that we're bringing in a really, really diverse freshman class,” Kuntz told MTN News.

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Of the 1,555 freshman students at UM, roughly 25% are first-generation students, 1% are international students, and 57% are in-state residents.

Nearly 26% of the freshmen identify with a race or ethnicity other than white.

Students that identify as female make up a majority of the freshman population, with 43% of the student body identifying as male.

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Kuntz says that they get their data from students, as students self-report. The University is striving for diversity and inclusion on campus, following what they call a “Flagship for the Future Strategic Adaptation.”

They have six design principles:

  1. Impact
  2. Interdisciplinary
  3. Inquiry
  4. Innovation
  5. Internationalization
  6. Inclusivity

Kuntz says that all of these contribute to the growing numbers of diversity among students they see each year and student success. The campus also has clubs and a student government body that works closely with students and faculty.

“For the last 10 years we've seen the University of Montana's population get more diverse with each year and that's their Native American students or Asian students or African American students or Hispanic students. And we're really proud of that," said Kuntz. "We think the more diverse this campus can be, the more rich the educational experience can be and better the student experience can be.”