MSU's fall census indicates that the 2012 MSU headcount is up 507 students, or 3.6 percent, from last year's record of 14,153 students. It is the sixth time in the last seven years that MSU has set an enrollment record.
MSU enrollment increased in undergraduates, freshman class, Native American students, veterans, out-of-state students and Gallatin College.
MSU was also the school of choice for some of the state's best and brightest high school graduates: 126 of 205 Montana high school graduates offered Montana University System Honor Scholarships chose MSU - more than all other Montana institutions combined. The scholarship offers a tuition waiver for up to four years to any university or community college in the state.
Additionally, MSU's retention rate was up from 74.1 percent to 74.3 percent. Retention refers to first-time, full-time freshmen students who continue on to their sophomore year. Freshman-to-sophomore retention plays an important role in the number of students who ultimately graduate. MSU increased its efforts to help students stay in school by opening its Office of Student Success last year. The office provided more than 6,500 hours of free tutoring to 560 students in more than 150 classes. This summer, the university also invested $350,000 in renovating its Writing Center, where students from all disciplines receive free help on essays and other writing assignments. Last year, the center had more than 3,400 student visits.
All of us at Montana State University were pleased and honored to learn of these enrollment and retention numbers, which seem to indicate that students agree that MSU has a lot to offer we are here to help them succeed," said MSU President Waded Cruzado.
Cruzado thanked the MSU faculty and staff for their commitment to students and excellence that she believes contributed to the university's growth over the past year.
"We have many, many wonderful people who day in and out demonstrate the land-grant mission of supporting success for our students and promoting success in our state."
In all, MSU saw an increase or held even in most enrollment categories. For instance, the number of undergraduates rose 581 students from last year for a total of 12,772. There is also a 444 student increase in out-of-state students, for a total of 4,252 non-resident students this year. There is also a substantial increase in Western Undergraduate Exchange students from the region. This year there are 602 WUE students at MSU, up from 485 a year ago.
And the number of full-time equivalents -- one FTE is defined as a student taking 15 credit hours, a figure used in many higher education formulas -- increased substantially from last year. There are 12,858 FTEs at MSU this year, compared to 12,252 last, meaning more MSU students are likely taking full credit loads.
This spring, MSU launched a campaign to encourage students to take 15 credits or more. Called the "Freshman 15" - but applicable to all students - the campaign highlights that 15 credits cost the same as 12 credits, resulting in an $816 per semester value for resident students and a $2,485 per semester value for out-of-state students. The savings to students doubles if they take 18 credits per semester.
MSU's 2012-2013 freshman class is the university's largest ever with 2,710 students, which broke last year's record of 2,669 students. The average SAT score for freshmen enrolled full-time at the university was 1715, up from last year's average of 1705. The average freshman ACT score for the same group is 25.2, the same as last year, and the average GPA is 3.41, up slightly from last year's average of 3.40.
MSU also continues to enlarge its number of Native American students. This year's total of 580 Native students is 35 more than last year's record. The number of veterans on campus is 535, up from last year's total of 516. The number of Hispanic students is also up from 357 last year to 427 this fall.
MSU's Gallatin College program also increased in 2012. This year there are 56 new Gallatin College students, compared to 45 last year.
Fall enrollment is the second record-setting number MSU has had this year. For the fiscal year ending June 30, MSU had a record $112.3 million in research expenditures earned through its ability to compete nationally for grant dollars.
MSU's research enterprise plays a direct role in provide funding for undergraduate and graduate students in salaries, benefits, scholarships and fellowships. For the most recent fiscal year that amounted to $9.4 million, making it one of the largest forms of student aid on campus, comparable to the $16.2 million awarded to students through federal Pell grants.
Tracy Ellig (406) 994-5607, email@example.com