UM reports spring enrollment dip, citing money, investigations

2013-03-02T05:30:00Z 2014-10-03T14:28:36Z UM reports spring enrollment dip, citing money, investigations

For the second consecutive semester, enrollment has dropped at the University of Montana.

Numbers released by UM on Friday showed a 3.4 percent enrollment decrease for the 2013 spring semester. Enrollment stands at 14,201, 505 students fewer than a year ago at this time.

A “spring of great challenges” at UM last year affected the numbers, but the main damper on enrollment remains money, said Peggy Kuhr, UM vice president for integrated communications.

“The news about the sexual assault investigation and the attention given to it, we believe that had an effect (on enrollment). But the No. 1 reason we hear is more related to financial situations,” Kuhr said.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by UM students and athletes were compounded by ongoing investigations into the school – and its handling of sexual assault reports – by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education, and the NCAA.

Fall semester enrollment dropped by nearly 5 percent from the previous year, with 14,943 students enrolling at UM. The decrease came after a record 15,669 students enrolled for the 2011 fall semester.

The university has taken important steps to “move forward” in light of the allegations and investigations, Kuhr said Friday.

Chief among the improvements is a new requirement that all students take the “Personal Empowerment Through Self-Awareness” training tutorial. UM also is working closely with the city of Missoula to spread the word about resources for victims of sexual assault, Kuhr said.

“Did it affect enrollment? Yes. Does it mean we’re a better campus today? I think so,” Kuhr said.


Spring enrollment numbers are traditionally lower than fall counts. And the 3.6 percent spring enrollment decline is encouraging when compared with the 4.6 percent enrollment drop from fall 2011 to fall 2012, Kuhr said.

“Yes it is decline. At the same time, we see the percentage moving in the positive direction for us,” Kuhr said.

Meanwhile, Montana State University is celebrating another enrollment record.

MSU announced in mid-February a record 13,700 students enrolled for the 2013 spring semester.

The focus isn’t on head-to-head comparisons with MSU, Kuhr said, but rather on how many students are successfully making the transition from high school to college, then going on to graduate.

“Whether you’re from UM or MSU, we want students going on to pursue higher education, if that’s two years, or four years or getting a certificate training,” Kuhr said. “(The main concerns are) A: Are Montana high school students graduating? And B: Are they going on to more education?”


That said, May 1 is “national decision deadline” for students who have been accepted into colleges across the U.S., and the university has spent increased time and money recruiting potential students so they’ll say yes to UM, Kuhr said.

“We’re spending more money and are able to offer more scholarships and better financial aid packages,” she said. “There’s been more outreach, you name it, whether it’s phone calls, face to face, social media connections and even the mailing of brochures and other types of mailings.”

Changes to undergraduate advising and retention programs have already been implemented to help boost enrollment. Improvements include a more aggressive initiative to identify students who struggle early on in the semester and a wider offering of tutoring, lab and study group opportunities, Kuhr said.

UM had a record graduation class in May 2012 and Kuhr expects another large graduation class in May 2013.

“Enrollments go up and down, you need to be flexible,” Kuhr said, “and be doing everything you can to make sure you’re recruiting the best students.”

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(20) Comments

  1. bsfarm8
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    bsfarm8 - March 02, 2013 11:13 pm
    I spoke with Mr Engstrom on the phone, and attended a presentation at the University and spoke with him directly...It really isn't that hard to believe, UMalumnus what rock are you under??
  2. GaryTinkSanders
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    GaryTinkSanders - March 02, 2013 6:38 pm
    She also has a reason to cast the blame on something or someone else.
  3. idiot state
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    idiot state - March 02, 2013 5:55 pm
    Hardly the "Harvard of the west" which implies excellence and quality. That it's not. It's referred to as "the poor man's Berkeley" because of it's extreme liberalism, lax standards, political la la land correctness and disconnect from reality. Send your children there and they'll come out idiots...
  4. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 4:36 pm
    Heh! Just like UMalumnus you see it more convenient to just blow the matter off and pretend to have inside info into the investigation when you most definitely do not. Keep deluding yourself.

    (Oh, and boosters are about on the same level as lobbyists -- detestable.)
  5. Mountie
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    Mountie - March 02, 2013 4:00 pm
    "But the No. 1 reason we hear is more related to financial situations,” Kuhr said.

    Financial situations must be better 204 miles to the east at MSU where they continue to have record enrollments.
  6. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 3:53 pm
    Hmmmm, probably because people like to live somewhere where education is valued rather than demeaned by myopic-minded Republicans who prefer save-a-fetus/starve-a-low-income-baby sexists/cretins to broad-minded intellectuals who are accepting of people of different races and religions. Oh, and I'll put Missoula's air quality up against that of cities like Houston and Dallas and Birmingham and Lexington and Louisville in GOP-dominated southern states any 'ol day of the week, thank you very much.
  7. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 3:33 pm
    Uh, if you're capable of reading, the reporter interviewed Peggy Kuhr, the university's VP for integrated communications.

    “The news about the sexual assault investigation and the attention given to it, we believe that had an effect (on enrollment)."

    I think she knows a *wee* bit more about it than you, UMalumnus. Sorry to throw an inconvenient fact like this into your lap.
  8. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 3:24 pm
    Heh! Funny how when a Republican is in office and the economy is bad, it's "The president doesn't hae any effect on the economy." But when a Democrat's in office, then people like you do a complete 180. And if Republicans posting want to throw around "liberal" as an insult, hey, that's fine. But *please* don't call your selves "conservatives" when the last 3 Republican presidents both grew government and left office with a record deficit (especially war criminal W. with his 2 unpaid-for wars, unpaid-for tax cuts, unpaid-for $1.2 trillion Medicare drug plan) while the last Democrat shrunk the size of government and left office with a considerable surplus. Conservative? Only if the definition has changed!
  9. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 3:18 pm
    Hmmmmm, if Johnson's not-guilty verdict exonerates the university, then I guess Davidson's guilty conviction didn't exonerate it, yes? And the "media-driven" argument is not that rapes are rampant, only that the reporting and handling of rape cases are flawed. And, wow, what an insider you must be knowing every facet of the DOJ and NCAA investigations! Pu-lease.
  10. MT oldie
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    MT oldie - March 02, 2013 2:08 pm
    What the NCAA has turned up so far is that athletes walk past tail-gates after the game and are offered hot dogs and cookies. OOOOoooooo...that's illegal and soooooo scary!! Shame on the players and boosters. Good grief. The investigation has nothing to do with sex - just cookies....
  11. BobbyLee
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    BobbyLee - March 02, 2013 11:47 am
    - "The first amendment is generally wasted on the Missoulian."

    Ain't that the truth! I might borrow that if I may?
  12. UMalumnus
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    UMalumnus - March 02, 2013 11:01 am
    Right. I am sure you have talked to the president of a major university directly. Who are you kidding? You people are pathetic and delusional.
  13. UMalumnus
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    UMalumnus - March 02, 2013 10:59 am
    It completely exonerates UM. It proves there is no problem. Are the changes still beneficial -- sure. But it uncuts the media-driven over-hyped argument that sexual assaults are rampant. The DOJ and NCAA civil investigations have yet to turn up anything after months and months. Normally you hear bits and pieces when there has been something wrong. That is not happening here. It tell you everything about this being another waste of taxpayer dollars.
  14. retiredmsla
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    retiredmsla - March 02, 2013 10:30 am
    This story is nothing more than reporting enrollment figures and a press release offered by the person the university hired specifically to blow smoke up the skirts of budding reporters. A reporter would offer some evidence from those who had applied to UM, had been admitted, and who had decided not to attend. The first amendment is generally wasted on the Missoulian.
  15. BobbyLee
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    BobbyLee - March 02, 2013 10:26 am
    Why is enrollment down? Good grief! Where does one start?

    Well the quickest way for the university to be honest with itself (the 'university,' in this case, would, of course, be Engstrom, if he ever set foot outside of his precious ivory tower and actually met with the people who worked for the university, and not just the managers, who are generally quite pitifully useless) and determine what is wrong would be to ask any recent hire from the private sector - they will tell you in a heartbeat exactly what is wrong. Problem is, the university goes out of its way not to hire too many people from the private sector for that exact reason - they are too gung-ho, too knowledgable, too determined to do the right thing, and generally too d*mn worldly smart and work-ethical for the university. But there are a few. So go ask them. I've heard from them, since it's hard not to, but there's not one single senior manager in that dysfunctional institution willing to listen to them. These, often cretinous, managers would sooner blow smoke up the *ss of the university and pretend everything is kosher, rather than make themselves look like the fools they are. Just like the ridiculous self-serving spin from the 'vice president for integrated communications.' This place spends so much time coming up with these useless feel-good titles - such as 'vice president for integrated communications', and it's utterly ridiculous mission statement (read it!) which looks like an essay written by an eleven year old trying to impress his father having just learned how to use a thesaurus.

    The rot is long set in. There are entrenched managers who are simply cruising to retirement. That's what happens in the public sector - there is no incentive to improve because you'll get a raise anyway, and promotion is more often based on seniority and not ability. This isn't rocket science. Anyone from the private sector can tell you what's wrong. So go f**king listen to them! And stop acting like a bunch of children protecting your little cardboard castle. Only when the university starts being honest will it improve, and for years all I've seen so far is a protectionist system of endemic lies.

    That's why enrollment is down! It doesn't take much grey matter to determine that the "Harvard of the West" is just piggy-backing on a superior university, and has nothing 'unique' to offer except fortunate geography. Making it a play-town. Which, not surprisingly, is where the Harvard of the West tagline came from; Ski Magazine. That's the collective brilliance of the University of Montana!
  16. jacksommersby88
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    jacksommersby88 - March 02, 2013 8:22 am
    Uh, BS, in case you've got a faulty memory, the Johnson verdict doesn't exonerate the university, for running back Davidson from your innocent-as-angels football squad was sent to prison for 10 years for rape (which was a travesty being that the original sentence was for 30 years). And the NCAA investigation is still ongoing. You may be entitled to your opinion, but not your own set of facts (or ignored facts).
  17. idiot state
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    idiot state - March 02, 2013 7:50 am
    Frankly, the whole area is a liberal, drug infested, dirty, crime ridden cesspool-both the town and the school. Why anyone would choose to go there ("the poor man's berekely") remains a mystery.
  18. walter12
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    walter12 - March 02, 2013 7:12 am
    First there is the football program attacks by the leftists at UM. Then there is the correct opinions by many, that to spend all this money on a UM education and not get a real job in the Obama economy. Those are two real reasons that there is a dip in enrollment.
  19. mtmike
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    mtmike - March 01, 2013 11:37 pm
    Well stated, bs.
  20. bsfarm8
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    bsfarm8 - March 01, 2013 9:01 pm
    Thanks President Engstrom!! You have done a great job of making rubble out of the once mighty Griz brand and now you are working your magic on the rest of U of M. I hope you watched at least some of the Jordan Johnson trial, you could really take some pointers from Mr. Johnson on how to be a man and a leader under extraordinary circumstances. Your knee jerk, ready, shoot, aim approach to this fiasco is yet more proof (as if Montana needs any more proof) that you are way over your head. You have stated directly to me that both fund raising and enrollment had not been affected by the inept handling of affairs by the leadership at U of M. As the jury's verdict today showed us, you can't escape the facts. Please, Please, Please, Please just leave!!
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