MSU, MUW show enrollment increases despite system-wide drop

Daily Times Leader

Although statewide enrollment in Mississippi’s public universities has dropped slightly since last fall, both Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women have shown slight increases.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees released fall 2019 enrollment figures. The figures show 77,896 students enrolled across the system as of fall 2019, a 1.6% drop from last year’s figure of 79,193 students.

In total, the system is 1,297 students down from last year’s fall enrollment. The figures are unduplicated, and based on enrollment as of Nov. 1 of the current fall term. Students are counted one time regardless of on-campus or off-campus enrollment. This was the first year that the data was released in November, rather than September. IHL said completing the headcount later in the semester would lead to a more accurate number.


Mississippi State University showed an increase of 1.1% or 252 students from fall 2018, bring the university’s current enrollment figures up to 22,226. Last fall’s enrollment was 21,974 students. The data shows a fifth consecutive year of enrollment growth at MSU. According to the university enrollment numbers by college include: 2,559 in agriculture and life sciences, 754 in architecture art and design, 5,269 in arts and sciences, 3,234 in business, 3,438 in education, 4,900 in engineering, 619 in forest resources and 489 in veterinary medicine.

The university keeps the highest number of Mississippi high school graduates with 64% of the student body, or 14,218 students being Mississippi residents.

“It’s important to remember that it’s about more than numbers, it’s about student outcomes. Student success is at the center of everything we do, and it is our mission to ensure that all students receive the support they need to earn a degree from Mississippi State University,” said MSU President Mark Keenum.

Other data from this year includes the highest average freshman ACT score in history at 26.1, record first time freshmen at the Shackouls Honors College at 736, record distance education enrollment at 1,861, record engineering on the Coast program enrollment at 107 and increased Meridian campus enrollment at 654, up from 584.


The Mississippi University for Women saw the highest increase in enrollment for fall 2019 at 3.8% or 102 more students than lasts year. Total fall 2019 enrollment at The W is 2,813, with last year’s being 2,711. The 2019 enrollment is the second highest overall in the past 10 years. The university also saw an 11% increase in transfer students from 2018 with 711 new transfer students.

The W continues to have the highest degree completion ratio of Mississippi’s public universities at 32.8% per 100 undergraduate full-time equivalent students. The system average is 21.2%.

“We are proud that more students are choosing The W.  Enrollment is up in every class – freshman through graduate level.  In addition to attracting more new students, our focus on student success is reflected in better retention and graduation of our students,” said MUW President Nora Miller.


Aside from MSU and The W, the only Mississippi university to show an increase in enrollment was Delta State University. At DSU, enrollment increased by 45 students or 1.2% going from 3,716 to 3,761 students.

The University of Mississippi showed a 3.5% drop in enrollment, decreasing by 817 students from 23,090 to 22,273. The figure includes students at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The number of students at UMMC increased from 2,816 to 2,852.

Enrollment at the University of Southern Mississippi dropped by 2.6% or 376 students from 14,509 to 14,133.

Jackson State University’s enrollment dropped by 3.2% from 7,250 to 7,020 students, a loss of 230.

Alcorn State University’s enrollment dropped by 3.7% from 3,658 to 3,523, a loss of 135 students.

The most drastic change by percentage was the 6% drop Mississippi Valley State University experienced. The institution went from 2,285 students to 2,147 students, a drop of 138 students.