MISSOULA, Mont. - The University of Montana announced a headcount enrollment of 14,525 for fall semester, which exceeds UM projections but remains lower than a year ago.
University of Montana Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Perry Brown said in the last two years UM has seen large graduating classes but smaller incoming classes.
Brown said more students enrolled in college during the recession because they couldn't find jobs or wanted to improve their education to get a job, but those students have graduated. As for the smaller number of incoming students, Brown said it has to do with stiff competition trying to get high school students as well as a year of bad press surrounding sexual assaults related to UM.
"We're waiting for the small number of students to move through the system," Brown said.
While the overall student body numbers are down the number of new students is up slightly this semester and UM administrators have shelled out $700,000 to make sure that continues. They've hired Ruffalo Cody a company that specializes in enrollment management to focus on retention and recruitment.
One focus is to reach out to potential students earlier and ultimately get more applications.
"Helping students that are in high school actually begin to think about university and college life sooner," Brown said.
In 2011 the University of Montana hit an all time high with 15, 669 students but from there things declined. In 2012 14,943 were enrolled. Now 14,425. That's a decrease of more than a thousand students in the last two years.
No official enrollment numbers have been released from Montana State University, though administrators are predicting to top 15,000 students; an all time high.