September 12, 2009 8:29:00 PM
Attendance has increased across Mississippi''s university system, with Mississippi State University reporting record fall enrollment and Mississippi University for Women boasting one of the largest percentage increases.
Preliminary enrollment figures show MUW as having the second-highest enrollment increase -- 4.8 percent over fall enrollment in 2008 -- in the state, second to an increase of 4.9 percent at Jackson State University.
"Enrollment is the result of a university effort," said MUW Vice President for Student Services Dr. Bucky Wesley. "Students continue to be attracted to MUW because of our academic programs and the attention they receive from our faculty. We have also worked to create wider access to higher education for this region of Mississippi through alternate delivery methods, such as online programs.
"While our headcount is up almost 5 percent, our Full-time Equivalency enrollment is up almost 6 percent, which is a truer measure of the strength of our enrollment growth," Wesley continued, noting the school''s current FTE is the ninth-highest reported in 34 years. "What we see now is a really solid enrollment growth."
"As for the name change, the enrollment growth this fall speaks to the potential for the university and would do quite a bit to leverage the momentum we are now seeing," he added, referring to the university''s process of changing its name to Reneau University.
The state Legislature likely will vote on the name change in October or November.
MUW has a fall semester enrollment of 2,478.
Preliminary figures -- which are unduplicated and count students one time, if enrolled on more than one campus -- show Mississippi State University has a fall semester enrollment of 18,601, a 4.4 percent increase over 2008.
"We''re pleased that so many students see the value of a degree from Mississippi State, where they can pursue any career option they desire," said MSU President Mark Keenum.
Planning to celebrate its 132nd year in February, the university recently was ranked in the Top 20 of Forbes Magazine''s "best college buys."
"This prestigious publication recognized our university as one of the best when it comes to giving students the most quality for each tuition dollar spent," Keenum said. "We''re committed to continuing to provide the high level of academic instruction that enable Mississippi State to earn this designation."
System-wide enrollment across the state has increased annually since 1994.
"More people are seeking baccalaureate degrees at Mississippi institutions and it is absolutely imperative that we continue that trend, if we are going to move the state forward," said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds. "In order to do this, we have to continue to raise the quality of our academic programs and seek to make college more affordable and accessible."
Early enrollment figures at Miss. Universities
Here are the preliminary enrollment figures at Mississippi''s eight public universities. Delta State and Mississippi Valley State are the only universities with slight decreases in enrollment this fall. Enrollment increased at the other six schools:
Source: The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
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