UM Fall Enrollment Drops 6.1 Percent – New VP Taking Charge To Increase Numbers
Newly hired University of Montana Vice President of Enrollment Management Tom Crady was frank as he addressed reporters in Brantley Hall on Friday afternoon when he said, 'the bottom line here, is we're down'.
(Hear the entire press conference by clicking on the YouTube video above)
That being said, Crady came alive and animated when he began speaking about how he plans to turn things around for the University of Montana.
Starting with raw numbers for fall, preliminary fall headcount was 12,419 students, that represents a 4.8 percent decrease in overall enrollment, Fall headcount on the mountain campus was down 6.1 percent, while enrollment at the Missoula College was up 2,2 percent, and graduate students grew by 3.9 percent.
Once the numbers were out, Crady stopped his presentation and asked for questions.
Question: Dr. Crady, did President Engstrom and the administration give you carte blanche to do anything it takes to increase enrollment?
Answer; "They absolutely have," Crady began. "I am doing stuff that I think needs to be done, and I don't have to check with anybody. For instance, we want to focus specifically on our incoming first year students, so we have already implemented a lot of strategies that nobody knows about. We are now involved with a program called 'Raise Me'. It allows students in the ninth grade to sign up on the 'Raise Me' site and be awarded micro scholarships."
Question: Dr. Crady, have you paid attention to what MSU is doing with their enrollment? They seem to have taken advantage of some of the problems UM has had over the past years to increase their own enrollment. Are you doing anything to address that?
Answer: "I probably know Montana State better than they do," he said. "They use a marketing company out of Virginia, and I worked with that company for 17 years. They've done a good job, but let's be honest, we're competing for students here, so we're going to do what we think is right to get the job done, and that's what we're focusing on.
Although Crady was hesitant to place a number on the projected improvement in enrollment, when questioned further, Crady said he is hoping for an increase.
"In the near future, spring and next fall, I would like to see a stable enrollment with a three percent increase," he said. "When you compare price, faculty and atmosphere, the University of Montana is a great deal, and, of course, right now it's not overcrowded," he said to laughter as he closed the press conference.
Dr. Crady has agreed to come on the KGVO Talk Back show at his earliest convenience.