University Relations and Communications

Montana State University Billings Fall Enrollment Slips, Freshman Cohort Up



Aaron Clingingsmith, University Relations, 657-2243


MSU Billings shows significant increase with area high school students, University Connections students, housing occupancy remains strong


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings’ has started the 2014-15 academic year short of last fall’s opening from 4,969. This is the second consecutive year where MSU Billings enrollment has been below 5,000 students. With fall’s decline MSU Billings still holds strong as the third largest institution in Montana.


Student Enrollment at MSUBAt its official, fifteenth class-day count, MSU Billings enrollment is at 4,781 students. Of those, 3,502 students are attributed to the university campus serving four-year and graduate programs and 1,279 students are registered at the City College campus.


Year-to-year, the freshman cohort is up by nearly three percent. Freshmen students attending from Billings “big three” have grown substantially from the previous year. Incoming freshmen at the university campus from Skyview, West and Senior tally 63, 77 and 67, respectively. During the previous year those institutions clocked in at 43, 58 and 41.


“We have done a nice job increasing the number of students from within Billings,” commented Chancellor Mark Nook. “In spite of declining high school enrollment and a strong regional economy, high school students in our area see the value in our two-year and four-year degrees.”


With the uptick in local students MSU Billings residence hall occupancy has held strong with 534 residents.


“We continue to see freshman students from Billings wanting the holistic college experience,” commented Dr. Joe Oravecz, vice chancellor for student affairs. “The value of living in the residence halls at MSUB is the best in the state.”


The bookends of the Higher Ed continuum has shown promise this fall. University Connections students – students who attend MSUB while still in high school – saw a leap from 76 in 2010 to 206 students this fall, nearly threefold during the five-year timespan. The graduate student population dipped in 2013 but met its mark this fall.


Native American student enrollment remained unchanged from 2013. The population still comprises six percent of the student body. Hispanic student numbers slightly increased during the same period, 4.2 percent this fall versus four percent in 2013. The International Student population of 140 decreased by 18 students from the previous year’s all-time high.


In an address to faculty and staff (attached), Nook noted that the university is in the process of creating a new Student Success Committee.


“The impact of enrollment and retention success needs to be understood campus-wide,” said Nook. Nook plans to announce the members of the Student Success Committee in early October.


Other enrollment information shows:

  • Of the total number of students, almost 39 percent are 25 or older. The largest percentage of students (38 percent) is between the ages of 18 and 21.
  • The majority of MSU Billings students come from surrounding counties. Yellowstone County boasted 53 percent and another 33.1 percent are from other Montana counties.
  • The average age of undergraduate students at the four-year university campus is 24.9 and at the City College is 24.2. City College students on average were a full year younger than their peers in 2013 who were 25.3 years old.
  • Most of the students are studying on a full-time basis. Of the total headcount enrollment, 67.9 percent are full-time students.
  • The majority of students attending MSUB continue to be women. The 2013 AY indicated 62.1 percent of students were female, while this year’s count shows a 1 percent increase to 63.1 percent.
  • American Indian students make up 6 percent of the student body at MSU Billings while Hispanic students comprise about 4 percent.

Begun in 1927 as a teachers college, 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 & Retention Services at 657-2888.