The University of Montana released its spring semester enrollment numbers and officials say they are finding some positive signs for the future.

UM Vice President for Communications Paula Short provides the details.

“The key to the story for enrollment at the University of Montana is that we are seeing indicators that we are continuing to build back into our enrollment,” said Short.

Short explained the relationship between fall to spring enrollment numbers.

“Fall to spring enrollment has historically seen a dip in the spring from the fall, and that happened for a number of reasons. One reason is that we have a significant number of students that graduate after the fall semester. We also have some students that take a break from higher education as well as students that transfer. The numbers historically have been down, but the key here is by how much. This year the reduction of students in total enrollment from fall to spring semester is 2.3 percent. Yes, we’re still down, but how is that a positive? Well, last year it was three percent and if you consider that just a few years ago in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, we were down 9.1 percent, 6.9 percent and 8.2 percent respectively. In fact, it’s the lowest fall-to-spring loss of students in a decade.”

Short said the spring numbers are a move in the right direction as the university addresses its enrollment challenge.

“89.4 percent of the full-time freshmen who started with us in the fall semester are with us again in the spring semester,” she said. “What’s most interesting about that is that this is the first cohort of students to have participated in our redesigned orientation called the ‘Big Sky Experience’ that came with orientation, so it will be quite interesting to see how this cohort does come the fall and if our efforts with the new orientation are having a positive impact on retention, as we believe they do.”

There are now 10,247 students enrolled for the spring semester at the University of Montana.

The enrollment numbers come a week after University leaders and UM’s admissions and financial aid teams completed a four-city recruiting tour in Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Great Falls.