/University enrollment hits all-time high

University enrollment hits all-time high

According to the Institutions of Higher Learning, this fall saw a record number of students enroll in state public colleges and universities. With 83,016 students this fall, it is the largest system-wide enrollment, compared with 81,024 last year. Glenn Boyce is the head of the state’s colleges, universities and has highlighted recent research that showed the majority of jobs created by the recession were for people who have at least some college education. A large portion of those jobs went to degree-holding students. Boyce stated in a Friday press release that “there is no doubt” that a degree is a good investment in the future. “Record enrollment clearly demonstrates that our students understand how important it is to invest in higher education.” Since 2010, college enrollment has declined across the country after a wave students enrolled at the peak of the Great Recession. The University of Mississippi (the state’s largest university) and Mississippi State University (the Mississippi State University) saw increases of 1.7 percent and 3.6%, respectively. This marks the 22nd consecutive year of an increase in University of Mississippi enrollment. MSU currently has 66 percent of its students who are residents of the state. This includes 3,624 freshmen. The freshman class at Ole Miss is 3,982 and 59.4 per cent of the students are from Mississippi. The Mississippi University for Women in Columbus saw the highest percentage growth, with a 10.7 percent increase in enrollment. University of Mississippi Medical Center saw a decrease of less than 1 percent in fall enrollment compared to the previous year. According to UMMC, the lack of enrollment growth this year was mostly due to space limitations. “We are close or at capacity in all our programs, except for some of our online offerings,” Dr. Ralph Didlake said, the Medical Center’s Associate Vice-Chief for Academic Affairs. There was growth in some areas of the school, such as the School of Medicine, Medical Center’s residency-fellowship programs and School of Dentistry. After an 8-year period of declining enrollment, this marks the third year that Delta State University has seen an increase in enrollment. President William LaForge attributes the college’s success in recruitment and retention to its efforts to increase enrollment. This includes doubling the number staffers who are specifically trained to recruit transfer students and community college students. The Mississippi University for Women reports that enrollment has increased in all areas, including transfers, new freshmen and international students. The University of Southern Mississippi saw its enrollment remain roughly the same as last, while Jackson State University saw its numbers grow by 0.1%. Boyce also highlighted an increase in the number of degrees that are awarded each year to students. In 2016, colleges and universities awarded 17,305 degrees, compared to 16,813 in 2015. Boyce stated that record enrollments are not the only reason for record degrees. “These graduates have greater earning power, which will help Mississippi’s economy move forward,” Boyce said.