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University of Montana reports a rise in student enrollment for fall semester

University of Montana Main Hall
Freddy Monares
Montana Pubic Radio
University of Montana Main Hall

The University of Montana in Missoula is trumpeting not only a higher student headcount this semester, but also a record student retention rate.

Over 10,300 students are enrolled at UM this fall.

According to a news release issued Monday, that’s nearly 4% more than fall semester last year and the largest single percentage gain in annual enrollment in 14 years.

UM said the enrollment spike is powered by nearly 1,400 new first-time students, most of whom are Montana residents.

UM officials credit the school’s surge in resident students to an initiative providing resident Montana students whose families earn less than $50,000 annually the opportunity to attend UM tuition free.

UM’s student retention – the rate that students persist between their first and second year – rose to an all-time high of 76% this fall.

UM’s growth wasn’t limited to its main campus. Enrollment at Missoula College, its two-year program, jumped almost 20% over last year.

UM officials said all this growth is helping the university’s bottom line. They said tuition revenue climbed above $43-million, nearly 12% higher than during the same period last fall semester.

Montana State University in Bozeman, meanwhile, announced last week that it set a record this fall with nearly 17,000 students enrolled. That’s up over 2% from last fall. MSU’s previous enrollment record was set in the fall of 2018.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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