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USM celebrates record increase in new freshmen

This is a press release from the University of Southern Mississippi.

PINE BELT, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi is celebrating a record percentage increase in new freshmen and has surpassed all previous record enrollment numbers at its Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

Those are just two of the positives from Fall 2017 enrollment figures that have set the University on a course for future unmatched success.

In Fall 2017, 22.6 percent more first-time, full-time freshmen are attending the University than in 2016. A total of 1,910 new freshmen are currently enrolled, an increase of 352 more than the 1,558 freshmen who enrolled for the first time in Fall 2016. The 1,910 total marks only the second time in the institution’s history more than 1,800 new freshmen have enrolled in any given year. This is also the second straight annual increase in the number of new freshmen.

“I am grateful for the dedication of our admissions and enrollment management team, as well as our faculty and staff, whose hard work resulted in this record increase of first-time, full-time freshmen,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “These successes demonstrate that The University of Southern Mississippi continues to provide high-quality education and research opportunities that position us as the institution of choice for so many students and their families.”

Quality of the student body remains strong, as new freshmen ACT (22.77) and GPA (3.29) averages are both the second-highest in the University’s recorded history. In addition, the number of students receiving academic merit scholarships increased more than 40 percent.

“The size and the quality of this class confirm that newly implemented recruitment strategies are working and that USM is an appealing institution to students from within Mississippi, across the country and around the world,” said University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steven R. Moser. “This freshman class positions the University not only for future growth but also unprecedented academic achievement.”

In all, 14,479 students are enrolled at USM this fall, compared to 14,552 last fall. Large graduating classes in 2015-16 (3,334 students) and 2016-17 (3,321 students), a decrease in part-time students, as well as national trends of fewer international and graduate students enrolled in higher education institutions are contributing to the slight difference.

Fall 2017 enrollment at the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach is up 9.2 percent from 2016. An all-time record of 3,454 students are enrolled in classes taught by faculty based at the University’s Gulf Park Campus, topping last year’s record enrollment of 3,163, which was a 9.1 percent increase over 2015. Enrollment in USM courses at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and the University’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs remains steady.

“At USM, we believe in a holistic approach to student success. Over the past several years, we have provided Gulf Park students with increased student support services to complement quality instruction from our faculty, in turn creating a robust environment for learning,” said Dr. Casey Maugh Funderburk, Vice Provost for the Gulf Park Campus. “This expanded approach is one of the many reasons that more students than ever are choosing to study at the University’s Gulf Park campus."

The total number of undergraduate students, the number of students enrolled in fully online programs, the number of new freshman in-state and out-of-state, and the number of full-time students all increased.

Enrollment in the University’s Honors College remains strong with 124 new students from 10 states and multiple countries. New Honors College students boast an average ACT of 29.32 and GPA of 3.65.

“Maintaining strong quality while increasing the number of freshmen students choosing Southern Miss is something we are exceptionally proud to report this year and is evidence that students recognize the outstanding opportunities we have to offer,” said Kate Howard, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Admissions. “It is a true testament to the caliber of the institution.”



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