Student Enrollment Drops - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Student Enrollment Drops

Posted: Updated:

The fall semester is underway as college students in Billings hit the books. However, reports show college enrollment is down overall this year.

One thing is for sure, college enrollment fluctuates from year to year.  But who would have ever thought this years national epidemic of falling enrollment numbers, could be due to the fact of too many jobs?

"Number one, everything seems to go back to money no matter what you do. So I'm sure some of it is the rising tuition costs. But I think some of it is, there has been an increase in workforce jobs," says Rocky Mountain College President, Robert Wilmouth.

"Now that the unemployment rate has kind of dropped back down, there's more ability for people to actually find that second job or maybe that really good paying job," says Montana State University Billings Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Stacy Klippenstein.

Rocky Mountain College is between 16 and 20 students less this year, leaving a total number of students at 1,000. MSU-B and City College have seen a combined drop of nearly 100 students and have a total of 4, 969 students this year.

Some have speculated the federal government doubling of student loan rates in July has had an effect on enrollment. But in August, congress voted to extend the date of implementation of the rate hike.

"Some of the decisions that will be made from a subsidized loan program from the federal government, will have an impact, we anticipate in probably 2015," says Klippenstein.

"I also think that we're trying to do things to manage the impending doubling in interest rates and the government becoming more restrictive in their funding anyway," says MSU-B financial advisor, Leslie Weldon.

Not having to worry about high interest rates on federal loans as of now, can leave most students at ease. But both schools wish to make clear, the importance of furthering education after high school.