MSU Billings  fall 2020 enrollment data showed an increase in retention and graduate student enrollment, specifically in all mental and behavioral health programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. At its official 15th class-day count, 4,000 students were enrolled with 2,500 at University Campus and 1,500 at City College. This is a decrease of 416 students (9.4%) from fall 2019. Given the uncertainty and financial impact of COVID-19, this enrollment decrease was expected to be greater and is anticipated to be better than the nationwide higher education enrollment forecasts.

Moving the fall semester start date up three weeks impacted some students’ ability to enroll, especially for those who rely heavily on summer jobs and could not afford to conclude their jobs early. Dual enrollment numbers were also affected since School District 2 and other partner schools started their fall semester later than MSUB, making it challenging for many high school students to enroll.

Interim Chancellor Rolf Groseth noted that many MSUB students also have increased family responsibilities as a result of COVID-19, some having to navigate their children’s remote learning and their own remote jobs, or job loss, creating additional enrollment challenges. Groseth reminded that students can still apply for CARES Act funds that can provide some financial relief.

Notable areas of growth for fall 2020 semester enrollment included:

* Increase in one-year overall freshmen retention by 4%

* City College one-year freshmen retention increased by 13.7%

* Overall graduate student enrollment increased by 6.2%

* New graduate student enrollment increased by 44.2%

* Programs with significant enrollment growth included: Human Services 36.8%, Special Education Advanced Studies 36.4%, Psychology 18.2%, RN to BSN 14.8%, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, MS 10.1%, and School Counseling, MS 8.5%


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