BUTTE – Montana Tech’s enrollment continues to decline and that has academic officials at the Butte university concerned.
“Well, anytime you lose enrollment you need to consider the financial impacts and those kind of things that go along with it,” said Montana Tech Provost Doug Abbott.
The university’s official enrollment for the fall is 2,583 students, which is down about 95 students from last fall. Academic leaders here at the university say there are a number of factors for the downward spiral in enrollment. One reason for the downturn in enrollment is the lack of people seeking majors in petroleum engineering.
“It has steadily been declining since four or five years ago when the price of oil was over $100 a barrel, it dropped somewhere in the mid-20s, so we’ve seen a consistent decline in petroleum engineering,” said Abbott.
Another major factor that’s affecting all universities in Montana is the lack of high school graduates in the state.
“Data has shown that graduation rates in Montana is going to continue to decline until about 2023, so in order to grow our enrollment we’re going to have to recruit more out of state students,” he said.
On a positive note, the university has seen a growth in freshman enrollment.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News