Record-setting enrollment at the state’s leading research university tops 22,000

Contact: Harriet Laird

More than 11,000 students take classes in Mississippi State’s Old Main Academic Center on its busiest days. Opened last fall, the 150,000-sq.-ft. facility is providing more learning space for the university’s growing student body that this fall hit an all-time record of 22,201. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—In its fifth consecutive year of historic growth, Mississippi State celebrates its 140-year anniversary by accelerating student enrollment well over the 22,000 mark, an attainment that’s been a top priority for MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

With this fall’s arrival of 22,201 students, Mississippi’s leading research university is seeing 318 more enroll than last year’s 21,883, while also growing diversity of the student body to more than a quarter – 27 percent – of MSU’s degree-seeking population. A record number of new transfer students also is contributing to the university’s unprecedented enrollment, and first-time freshman numbers are up from fall 2017.

The exceptional growth, Keenum said, can be attributed to the university’s expansion of student opportunities and offerings, spearheaded by the “outstanding faculty and staff who truly are driven to make a difference in the lives of those who choose Mississippi State.”

“We’re providing a signature educational experience that extends way beyond the classroom to show students that far-reaching goals are attainable and then positioning these students for long-term success. No matter where students begin their journeys with Mississippi State, they have countless possibilities to learn, lead and grow.” he said.

The surge in fall numbers includes:

—record new transfer students (2,142 up from 2,062)

—more first-time freshmen (3,599 up from 3,438)

—highest average freshman ACT score in history (25.6)

—record Shackouls Honors College first-time freshmen (632 up from 475)

—record Distance education enrollment (1,870 up from 1,788)

—increased Meridian campus enrollment (595 up from 522)

—more out-of-state students (35 percent)

—No. 1 college choice for Mississippi’s high school graduates

New opportunities for students to attain membership in the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, expanded undergraduate research and distance education programs, and more study abroad ventures and scholarship options through the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College are at the heart of the increase. Also, engagement in abundant community service projects, enhanced housing that includes living-learning communities, and two residence hall choices in the Honors College are contributing to the considerable boost in those pursuing degrees at MSU.

MSU, a National Science Foundation Top 100 research university that’s continuously building on its legacy as a premier academic institution, ranks sixth globally in entrepreneurship research as cited by the international Journal of Small Business Management and is in the Top 5 percent nationally for agriculture research according to the NSF. Money magazine lists the university as Top 50 in the South in its 2017 “Best Colleges for Your Money” rankings, while the national publication Military Times includes MSU in the Top 50 best universities for veterans and their dependents.

Enrollment growth among MSU’s eight colleges can be seen in the College of Business (up 6.4 percent); College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (up 4.3 percent); James Worth Bagley College of Engineering (up 2.9 percent); and the College of Forest Resources (up 2.9 percent).

Total college-specific enrollment figures are:

—2,512 in Agriculture and Life Sciences

—749 in Architecture, Art and Design

—5,285 in Arts and Sciences

—3,033 in Business

—3,458 in Education

—4,771 in Engineering

—601 in Forest Resources

—483 in Veterinary Medicine.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 9:37 am