Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The University of Montana reported its largest enrollment growth in the last 14 years at 3.7 percent on Monday.

KGVO News spoke to UM’s Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz who was understandably excited about the growth in enrollment.

UM is Excited to see Continued Growth in Annual Enrollment

“The numbers are in and we have good news here at the University of Montana this fall,” began Kuntz. “Overall, we're seeing an increase in the number of students on campus by 3.7 percent, which is the largest jump and percentage growth we've seen here since 2009. This builds on the recent success we've had. We've seen three consecutive growing classes now going back to 2021. And it really feels like we've entered this period of growth here at the University and we expect the trend to continue in the years ahead.”

New incoming freshmen are making up a good portion of the enrollment growth.

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Spokesman says Much of the Growth is Coming from Incoming Freshmen

“Amongst our first-year students are freshmen, and that's the third growth we've seen in a row and the largest growth that we've seen in seven years,” he said. “That's really powered by growth in Montana students. Our freshmen coming in have 12 percent more Montanans in past years, and likewise, we've seen growth at Missoula College. That’s our two-year college, as well as growth across the board with a number of veteran students. We have growth in Native American and first-generation students, as well.”

With enrollment growth comes financial growth, and Kuntz said more students coming onto the campus is good for all aspects of the university.

“Really, across the board in every category, except for the out-of-state students coming into campus, we've seen growth and we think that's really diversifying our student body and our ability not just to be serving one section of campus,” he said. “Add to that, the fact that we have strong graduates student growth, undergraduate growth, and growth at Missoula College, and we're really pleased to be in a pretty financially healthy state for a while now here at the university.”

Schools Growing the Fastest Include Forestry, Health and Business

Kuntz said some specific colleges at UM are seeing rapid growth in new students.

“The colleges that are really growing right now here at UM are the College of Forestry as well as the College of Health, which we've seen the largest growth in recent years,” he said. “We're also seeing good solid growth at the College of Business, as well as the Honors College. As I said, we've really seen some robust growth at Missoula College, which is our two-year college unit. Because of that, we’ve seen the changing shifts in students over the past 10 or 20 years towards some of these professional programs, and that's reflected in this data as more students are choosing to enter the College of Forestry, the College of Health and College of Business than they were a generation ago.”

UM’s fall 2023 census report is available here.

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