In 2016, the University of Montana hired Dr. Tom Crady as VP for Enrollment and Student Affairs, and he began working immediately to bring more new students to campus.

Before outlining some of the tools his department is using to draw new students, Crady gave a brief outline of what he expects to see when the fall semester begins.

"People paying their housing deposits are up over last year," Crady began. "We've had a tremendous recruiting season with our recruiters literally going to most of the high schools in the state of Montana. We feel like we're on track. We still have a lot of work to do."

'We do know that the overall enrollment of the institution will be down due to the large graduating class, but, we're feeling hopeful that the incoming class will be larger than last year."

Crady said the winter and spring is the time when most students are seriously considering where to attend college, however the efforts are just as strong in the summer.

"A lot of students made their decision a couple of months ago," he said. "But, we really want people to come and visit. In fact, we have an orientation coming up this Thursday, and we're seeing really high numbers at that, so my advice is always go visit where you want to go to school so you get a good feel of it, and if it feels right, go there, and if it doesn't,  don't go there."

Crady said he feels UM has distinct advantages especially over out of state schools.

"Given our student to faculty ratio, which is about 18 to 1, no overcrowding on campus, there's a great opportunity here for great learning," he said. "Regarding the recently announced system-wide tuition increases, it's not a large dollar amount in terms of increase, but if students are concerned we're willing to sit down and talk with them about financial aid."

UM's enrollment has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, leading to reductions in state funding, faculty and staff. Officials have introduced two rounds of voluntary retirement offers, with a small percentage of faculty acceptance.

Fall 2016 enrollment was 12,416, a reduction of 4.8 percent.

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