Fall Enrollment at University of Montana Drops Again, But Not As Much As Expected
The University of Montana has had some difficult semesters in recent years, but although the student population for Fall of 2014 is lower than last years, there is some good news.
"We are down about 3.9 percent from a year ago," said UM Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr, "Let me explain why. We have had really big graduating classes these last couple of years, with smaller incoming freshmen classes these past two falls. When you have that smaller class coming in, and now going through the system, you're going to see smaller numbers.The overall head count for UM this fall is 13,952 students compared to 14,525 last fall."
The new freshmen class this fall is an improvement over last years. Not only is the average grade point average up this year (3.31 compared with 3.27 last fall), but there are 51 more students in this freshman class.
"That's where we feel the really good news is for us this fall. When we look on the mountain campus, which is where we've been putting a lot of emphasis on recruiting and outreach to perspective high school students, we are showing a 6.4 percent increase in new freshmen on the campus here, and that is up over the previous fall."
When asked what the biggest hurdle has been to getting students interested in the University of Montana, Kuhr sited the lack of a particular program.
"A very popular corurse or major right now, both at a national level, set by the president, and at a state level, is engineering," Kuhr said. "While we have engineering at Montana Tech and we have engineering at Montana State, that is not a focus of our program."
On another positive note for UM, the drop in enrollment this Fall is not as large as the University itself had expected.