College enrollment up statewide

September 3, 2010 11:02:00 AM



The state''s eight public universities'' preliminary fall 2010 enrollment figures show an increase of more than 3,000 students or 4.1 percent from fall 2009 numbers, the College Board announced Thursday. 


Systemwide, enrollment has increased annually since 1994. 


Mississippi State University''s enrollment is at 19,644, compared to 18,601 last year, an increase of 5.6 percent. 


Mississippi University for Women''s enrollment is at 2,592, up from 2,476 last year, an increase of 4.7 percent. 


At The W, faculty noticed the change well before official numbers were released. 


"We raised the class size on most general education courses such as art and music appreciation, history, literature surveys, speech, mathematics and philosophy as well as some of the lower division courses in several majors. We have hired additional adjunct faculty to teach the added sections," Dr. Hal Jenkins, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in a press release. 


Sirena Parker, director of community living, added that the residence halls are almost full, noting the number of males living on campus.  


"We have seen that number grow in the last two years," she said. The 100 men living on campus are being housed in two residence halls.  


"Our enrollment increases are a very good thing for Mississippi University for Women," Jenkins added. "The challenges that come with a larger enrollment only means that this is a university on the move and additional students want to be a part of what is happening at our university. It is indeed an exciting time to be at The W." 


MSU President Mark Keenum predicted during the summer, State enrollment would top 19,000 this year. 


Dr. Bill Kibler, vice president for student affairs at MSU, said the increase of 1,043 students in a single year was the largest on record at the land-grant university.  


"We''re very pleased," Kibler said this morning. "There''s a lot of good news in this story. Part of the good news is Mississippi State is up in every category of students. Freshman, transfers, graduate students, distance-education students. We''re up solidly in every category." 


For the first time, due to an increased freshman class size, MSU had to turn away about 400 upperclassmen requesting on-campus housing. Freshmen, with a few exceptions, are required to live on campus. 


"There are challenges that come with that growth," Kibler added, "But we''re involved in lots of planning in order to accommodate that enrollment growth not only this year, but the expected enrollment growth in years to come." 


Additional new on-campus housing will open in the fall of 2012, at the earliest.  


"The trend lines indicate that more individuals are seeking to enhance their lives through increased post-secondary educational attainment," said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. "We must find ways to support their efforts and increase retention and graduation rates in order to move Mississippi forward." 


Preliminary enrollment figures are unduplicated and count students one time if enrolled on more than one campus.