JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Enrollment in Mississippi's public universities has stayed fairly even in the past year despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released Monday by the universities' board of trustees.
Overall, the number of students attending public institutions of higher learning declined only 1% from last fall 2019 to fall 2020. The total number of students enrolled in public institutions decreased from 77,894 last fall to 77,154 in fall 2020.
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. said the year has been filled with “innumerable challenges” caused by the global pandemic.
“The fact that enrollment remains steady despite these challenges is a testament to the perseverance of our students and the dedication and flexibility of our faculty and staff,” he said in a statement.
Some numbers even increased — enrollment in the University of Mississippi Medical Center's enrollment rose 5.5% from this year to last year. Mississippi State University's student population saw a 3.4% increase.
One university saw a steep drop in enrollment. Delta State University's student population declined by 20% compared with last fall, before the coronavirus pandemic. The public university, located in Cleveland in the Mississippi Delta, had 3,761 students attending last fall. In fall 2020, 2,999 students were enrolled in the university.
Alcorn State University also saw a decline of 8.3% from 3,523 last year to 3,230 this year.