Enrollment at Montana State University Billings is up this fall and Interim Chancellor Ron Larsen is pleased with the news.
“We have a head count enrollment that is up,” Larsen said. “ We also have a full time equivalent, or FTE, that’s slightly down. So we have more students but more students that are taking less than full loads.”
The university’s budget is based on FTEs. But the drop in FTEs is not bad news for MSU Billings, says Larsen.
“Funding is tied to FTEs so when FTEs go down we feel it in the budget but we were prepared for it,” explained Larsen. "So it’s not going to impact what we do this semester.”
The fall headcount shows 4,401, up from 4,366 students in fall 2016. Of that enrollment, 2,830 are at the University Campus and 1,571 are at City College.
Part time student numbers are up, officials say, accounting for about 40% of enrollment.
“A lot of that has to do with our mission to serve the needs of our community,” said Larsen. “We have a much diverse community than a lot of the campuses in the state. And so we have students who are working and trying to complete a credential to advance in their careers. And they cannot not come and be full time students.”
Other positives from the university news release points out this fall’s enrollment figures show a 10% increase in the number of Native American students., and Billings continues to lead the state in the number of online courses with record online enrollment.
As a point of disclosure, MSU Billings is the licensee of YPR.