September 11, 2015 12:01:15 PM
Mississippi State University's fall enrollment figures increased almost 4 percent from last year's figure, while Mississippi University for Women's enrollment dropped by 20 students in the same timeframe, according to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
In all, 81,132 students have registered with the state's eight public universities for the fall semester, according to IHL statistics released Thursday.
MSU's preliminary fall total is 20,873 students, up from last year's 20,138 tally.
MUW has 20 fewer students on campus this fall, as its enrollment dipped from 2,696 last year to 2,676 this semester.
MSU saw the second-largest gain in enrollment -- the University of Mississippi added 742 students compared to last fall, pushing its overall student total to 23,096.
MSU's totals also include a 17 percent increase in first-time freshmen, a statistic that jumped from 2014's 2,974 total to this year's 3,471 tally, and a record number of new transfer students.
The university's Bagley College of engineering (8.6 percent), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (8.2 percent), College of Veterinary Medicine (6 percent) and College of Business (3.6 percent) also saw growth with additional majors.
"I commend the work of our dedicated staff for recruiting and enrolling truly exceptional students, and our world-class faculty members, who are outstanding instructors, advisors and mentors," MSU President Mark Keenum said in a release. "Their efforts are making MSU a destination for students looking for an exceptional education."
Enrollment at MUW is down less than 1 percent after the university graduated 860 students -- its largest class -- last year.
In a release, MUW President Jim Borsig said the university "has shown impressive gains in the numbers of students completing their degrees" in the last five years.
"We are successfully helping students earn their degrees, saving them both time and resources invested in their education. Completion is an important goal for us in educating our students, and The W is excelling at that goal," he said in the release. "Students continue to seek our unique educational experience, which provides small class sizes and personalized instruction. We will continue to focus on quality instruction that leads to successful completion."
Since 2010, the university has seen a 322 percent growth in the number of nursing degrees conferred.
The 81,132 students enrolled this semester in Mississippi's public universities is a 1.8 percent increase from fall 2014's tally.
"Record enrollment indicates that students understand the value of higher education and the impact this investment will have on their futures," IHL Commissioner of Higher Education Glen Boyce said in a release. "This is also great news for our state. They are preparing to be the next generation of teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders of our state. We also know that they will earn more and make a significant difference in moving Mississippi's economy forward."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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