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UM enrollment stabilizes with increased persistence rate

Posted at 2:34 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 18:22:15-05

MISSOULA – Spring enrollment numbers at the University of Montana were released Tuesday afternoon with officials reporting a stabilization of its enrollment from fall 2018 to spring 2019.

UM is reporting a total of 10,644 students between the main campus and Missoula College.

While the University began fall semester with a lower number of students than the previous fall, it saw an uptick of 1.7 percent in the persistence rate of students from fall to spring semester, resulting in higher than anticipated tuition revenue for the University.

“We are excited by this news and the direction it takes us,” said Seth Bodnar, UM’s president. “We have been working to improve student services across the institution. Our goal is very clear: We want students to not only come to the University of Montana, but to persist and succeed through graduation and beyond.”

Last year, UM began a review and overhaul of its student support systems and organizational structure to ensure a holistic, comprehensive focus on student success – in and out of the classroom. It recently hired Sarah Swager as its new vice provost for student success. She began her duties Feb.1.

Swager will work with Cathy Cole, the new vice president for enrollment and strategic communication, who joined UM over the summer. Cole has worked hard since day one, working with the enrollment staff to make changes that would immediately impact prospective students.

“We also are fixing the breaks in our recruiting infrastructure,” Cole said. “And we are starting to see positive indicators that show enrollment is slowly turning around. Most students are accepting scholarships earlier, more students are signing up for New Student Orientation sooner and more students engaging with us through various communication channels. Those are all good signs.”

Cole also acknowledged UM’s past struggles with recruitment of new students, while expressing optimism that she sees the tide beginning to turn.

“We have had some challenges in the past in recruitment at the University of Montana,” Cole said. “But as we meet with prospective students and their families in Butte, in Billings, in Great Falls, in Bozeman, we are hearing more and more that the University of Montana is an institution that meets their academic needs and will provide the type of experience they want for their collegiate career. We are ready to provide all that and more at UM.”

Undergraduate enrollment at UM’s central mountain campus stands at 6,196, with graduate student enrollment at 2,667. Missoula College has 1,781 students.

The full enrollment report is posted online.