University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings enrollment remains strong

September 28, 2012


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Five-year trend shows consistent growth in American Indian students, two-year programs and those who live in the residence halls 


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings has started the 2012-13 academic year with more than 5,000 students, continuing a five-year upward trend.  This marks the fourth straight year where MSU Billings enrollment eclipsed the 5,000 mark, making it the third largest higher education unit in the state.


students study in the Academic Support Center on the MSUB University campus

At its official, 15th-class-day count, MSU Billings enrollment is at 5,081 students. Of that enrollment, 3,745 students are enrolled at the university campus in four-year and graduate programs and 1,336 students are enrolled in programs at the City College campus, formerly the College of Technology.


Year-to-year, the overall enrollment is about 3.6 percent lower at the university campus and 4 percent lower at the City College campus. However, between 2008 and 2012, the enrollment at MSU Billings has been on a steady upward trend. For example, enrollment has grown by more than 4 percent on the university campus and more than 18 percent at the City College campus over the past five years. The number of American Indian students attending MSU Billings has grown by more than 28 percent on the two campuses and the number of male students taking classes has increased by 20 percent over the past five years.

In addition, more Montana students have found MSU Billings a great place to live while they are taking classes. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of students living in the residence halls has increased by 11 percent.


MSU Billings Chancellor Rolf Groseth said the university had planned for a lower enrollment this year, mostly because of a record MSU Billings graduating class of more than 1,000 students last spring and lower overall high school enrollment in Montana. He noted, however, the five-year trend points to continued interest in MSU Billings and its programs.


“In the face of declining high school enrollment across the state, a strong economy in Eastern 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,” Groseth said. 


He said enrollment in two-year programs can often be cyclical, especially when the economy is strong in natural resource development and related areas.  The chancellor said the university continues to work on strategic plans to respond to local, regional and statewide workforce needs and to help students move through their academic programs in an efficient and affordable manner.

Other enrollment information shows:

  • Of the total number of students, 57.3 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 university campus is 26.4 and at the City College is 25.7.
  • The majority of MSU Billings students come from the surrounding counties. Most (52.8 percent) are from Yellowstone County and another 34.4 percent are from other Montana counties.
  • More than two-thirds of MSU Billings students are studying on a full-time basis. Of the total headcount enrollment, 68.3 percent are full-time students. However, more men are taking part-time classes at City College this year, up 13 percent from this time in 2011.
  • The majority of students continue to be women (62.3 percent). The number of women taking classes at City College increased by 6 percent this year. American Indian students make up 6 percent of the study body at MSU Billings while Hispanic students comprise about 4 percent. The number of Hispanic students is up by more than 17 percent over the past five years.

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.


PHOTO ABOVE: MSU Billings students study and chat in the newly remodeled Student Union Building, home to a new coffee shop and the university campus Academic Support Center