Grad students, international students and other groups have increased in numbers according to UM’s spring census, even as the University’s enrollment continues to decline.
As overall enrollment has shrunk again this semester, some categories of students are making up larger sections of the student body. Since 2015, spring censuses indicate certain groups have grown in numbers and percentages. This spring’s census, released Feb. 11, follows these trends.
UM’s enrollment has decreased by about a third since 2011, the biggest drop of any public flagship university in the past decade, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. This has led to budget cuts and fewer instructors for students as employees accepted buyouts.
At a January meeting of the Budget Committee, Vice President for Operations and Finance Paul Lasiter said UM could be more than viable as an institution with about 12,500 students. The spring census counted a total enrollment of just under 10,000.
As undergraduates have dwindled in the past five years to just 5,800, graduate students have made up a larger portion of the University’s enrollment. The census counted more than 2,500 graduate students this spring, an increase of more than 500 in the past five years. Graduates now compose about a quarter of UM’s total enrollment.
International student enrollment has experienced a recent upswing, jumping from 575 in 2018 to more than 750 this spring. That’s an increase to over 7% of total enrollment.
Out-of-state, full-time undergraduates, such as international students pay nearly $19,000 more in tuition and fees than their in-state counterparts at UM, according to the Montana University System website.
The number of students with disabilities on UM’s main campus has risen in proportion over the past five years, from nearly 900 to more than 1,150. They currently make up over 13% of UM’s enrollment on the main campus.
This spring’s census also counted about 350 early admission and dual enrollment students at Missoula College, a drop of over 40% from 2019, but still higher than earlier years. Dual enrollment students are high schoolers who enroll in college classes.
Last spring, Missoula College had a spike in these categories of students with around 600. That was more than three times the previous year’s number and composed about a third of the college’s enrollment.