University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings enrollment remains strong

September 29, 2011


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Graduate student numbers, four-year undergrad enrollment and international student enrollment all grow from past year


MSUB Fall 2011


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings has started the 2011-12 academic year with more graduate students, more students seeking four-year degrees, more international students and with an enrollment that nearly mirrors that of last year.


At its official, 15th class-day count, MSU Billings enrollment is at 5,274, 61 students fewer than the record enrollment set last year. Of that enrollment, 3,883 students are enrolled at the university campus serving four-year and graduate programs and 1,391 students are enrolled in programs at the College of Technology campus.


While overall enrollment was relatively flat, there was growth in some areas. The number of students taking graduate level classes continues to rise as does the number of international students taking classes at MSU Billings. For example:

  • There are 3,328 students in undergraduate programs at the four-year campus, a 2.1 percent increase from 2010.
  • There are 121 students at MSU Billings from foreign countries this fall, a 188 percent increase from fall 2010 when 42 students attended from other countries. International students this fall come from 16 countries and as far away as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Chile and South Korea.
  • There are 555 students taking graduate-level classes this fall, a 1.6 percent increase from last year. Graduate programs have seen a 14 percent increase over the past five years.
  • The number of part-time students at the four-year campus is up to 1,046, a 5.4 percent increase from last year.

“In the face of declining high school enrollment in Montana and keeping all things in context, it is clear that students continue to be interested in academic programs at MSU Billings at the two-year, four-year and graduate level,” said Chancellor Rolf Groseth.


MSU Billings had an unusually large graduating class in the spring, with 922 students receiving degrees, which left a large gap to fill, he said. 


While the university did not match its record-setting enrollment set last year, Groseth is taking the long view, looking forward to fulfilling local and state needs. With a new vice chancellor for academic affairs and a new dean at the College of Technology starting their jobs this month, opportunities abound, he said.


The number of students taking two-year programs at the College of Technology campus is at 1,391, down 9 percent from September 2010, but is up over the past five years by nearly 20 percent.


“Enrollment in two-year programs is often cyclical as we work with our community partners to address the equilibrium between demand and delivery,” he said. “An example is our Associate of Science in Nursing, whose introduction three years ago was answered by a huge wave of pent-up demand that we knew we could not sustain. It’s a long-term process and we are looking forward to the next steps.”


The 2009 academic year was the first time enrollment at MSU Billings eclipsed 5,000 students and a new record was set last year when 5,335 students enrolled. 


Other information shows:

  • Of the total number of students, 57.6 percent are under the age of 24. The largest percentage of students (37 percent) is between the ages of 18 and 21.
  • The average age of undergraduate students at the four-year campus is 24.9 and at the COT is 26.0.
  • The majority of MSU Billings come from the surrounding counties. Most (54.1 percent) are from Yellowstone County and another 34.1 percent are from other Montana counties.
  • Most of the students are studying on a full-time basis. Of the total headcount enrollment, 69.4 percent are full-time students.
  • The majority of students continue to be women (61.9 percent).
  • Students continue to be interested in living on campus and enjoying student life. The number of students living in residence halls is at 611 this year and has seen a nearly 25 percent increase in the past five years.
  • There are 307 students at MSU Billings this fall who also compete in intercollegiate athletics.

Started in 1927 as a normal school, MSU Billings has become a comprehensive regional urban university with about 100 academic programs in areas of Arts and Sciences, Allied Health Professions, Business, Education and Technology. In addition, students can choose from more than 200 classes offered in 21 online programs.


To find out more about MSU Billings academic offerings, go to or call the Office of New Student Services at 657-2888.