After graduating a record number of students in the last academic year, The University of Montana has experienced an enrollment drop for autumn semester 2012.
According to the UM Registrar’s Office, the autumn total headcount enrollment is 14,943, which is 726 fewer than the record enrollment logged one year ago.
At the same time, UM has enrolled an incoming class that is academically stronger and better prepared than in previous years.
“Last year, we experienced record enrollment and then a record graduating class, which means we are living our mission to educate Montana’s students,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “We are committed to helping students succeed their freshmen year, stay here and then graduate.”
The number of students on the central mountain campus is 12,476, a decline of 390 students. Student headcount at Missoula College, the former College of Technology that has been part of UM since 1994, is 2,467, down 336 students.
Though these enrollment figures are not final, UM officials don’t anticipate major changes.
In addition to enrollment numbers, the University tracks the preparation level of incoming freshmen. This year’s freshman class has a higher percentage of students who have taken UM’s recommended full-college preparatory curriculum. The Office of Student Success reports that more than half of the freshman class – 52 percent – meet the recommendations, up from 44 percent in 2011.
Placement tests this year also show that more UM freshmen are prepared for college-level writing and college-level math classes. A total of 82 percent are college-math ready (compared with 75 percent in 2011), and 94 percent are ready for college writing courses (up from 90 percent).
“We’re pleased that so many students this year are better prepared than ever for the college experience.” Engstrom said. “It means that we can focus our time with our students on sharing the knowledge and skills they need to get jobs and succeed professionally upon graduation.”
UM graduated a record total of 3,190 students in the previous year, including a record number of undergraduate degrees at 2,477.
This fall, UM saw a drop in full-time equivalent student numbers on the central mountain campus and an increase on the two-year campus, the Registrar’s Office reported. (An FTE represents 15 undergraduate or 12 graduate semester credits.) The unofficial overall student FTE for fall is 12,497, a drop of 633 from 13,130 FTEs a year ago.
For the mountain campus, FTEs are 10,716, down from 11,443 in 2011. Among Missoula College students, FTEs are 1,780, which is an increase of 94.