Enrollment Down at Montana Tech

Montana Tech released fall 2018 enrollment numbers today. The university is seeing a headcount decline of 95 students bringing total headcount to 2,583 compared to 2,678 in fall 2017. The 2018 class at Montana Tech is from 51 Montana counties, 43 states & territories, and 17 foreign countries. In recent years, Petroleum Engineering and Highlands College have each declined by 200 degree seeking students. “Enrollment in petroleum engineering has historically followed the price of crude oil; so we are seeing the effects of the low oil prices,” noted Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter. “However, Petroleum Engineering students continue to be in high demand with excellent starting salaries.” Montana Tech’s most recent Petroleum class reported an average starting salary over $70,000. Similar, two-year education enrollment tends to decline with low un-employment and Highlands has followed State and National trends. Dean of Highlands College, Dr. Dave Gurchiek explained, “Highlands has two new programs this academic year in response to industry feedback. One of which is a revised one-year Machining Technology program to offer a 2nd year. Students will receive an AAS degree in Precision Machining and obtain eight National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications “
Some programs at Montana Tech are seeing increased enrollment. In the College of Letters, Sciences, and Professional Studies, nursing now boasts one of the largest enrollments on campus with over 200 students. “It is an exciting time in our program,” noted Karen VanDaveer, Director of Nursing at Montana Tech. “The Montana Tech nursing graduate has the academic preparation and clinical experiences necessary to meet the healthcare needs of the citizens of Montana and beyond.”

The “One-Two-Free” dual enrollment program increased access to higher education for high school students throughout Montana. The “One-Two-Free” offers two free dual enrollment courses, up to six credits, through the Montana University System (MUS) to all eligible high school students. Montana Tech currently has the 316 dual enrollment students—a record high.

Montana Tech’s Graduate School continues to see enrollment growth with a total of 253 students pursuing graduate education. The Industrial Hygiene online program is the largest graduate program on campus. Montana Tech’s only doctoral degree in Materials Science Ph.D. continues to grow. The university granted its first three doctoral degrees at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony in May 2018. The doctoral program has 17 students enrolled on the Montana Tech campus.

“We are not surprised with this decline in enrollment, and have budgeted to include this reality,” noted Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter. “We are pleased with the increase in first-time freshman which is up 33 students this fall.” Montana Tech’s freshman yield rate is 42% of applications. The national average is 35%.

“The university is committed to supporting undergraduate recruitment efforts and enhancing the student experience as demonstrated by the recent investments in Student Affairs,” noted Dr. Carrie Vath, Associate Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students at Montana Tech. Chancellor Blackketter echoed Dr. Vath’s thoughts, “There are good things happening on our campus. We are excited for the Student Success/Living & Learning Center (SSC) to open in early spring 2019. This new building is the largest capital project in the history of Montana Tech and will assist Montana Tech in recruiting, retaining, educating, and graduating more problem-solvers, innovators, healers, trailblazers, and leaders.”