NMSU faces declining enrollment despite overall optimism


Enrollment throughout the New Mexico State University system is down by 3% this school year, according to the latest report from the Office of Institutional Analysis (OIA).  

The campuses that saw the most drop from 2020 to 2021 were the Las Cruces main campus by 2.3% and the Doña Ana Community College campus by 8.2%.  

Seth Miner, director of admissions for NMSU, said there are plenty of factors that played into the overall decline in enrollment this year like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to reach potential students across sufficient platforms.  

There are specific areas that we are focusing on regarding recruitment and retention efforts.” Miner said.  “The pandemic impacted student enrollment behaviors in ways that we have not experienced before. I would like to note that we did see increases in our online student enrollment, new transfer students, and new international students,” He continued.  

While the pandemic has presented its challenges in recruitment across college campuses in the United States, one of NMSU’s top competitors saw its freshman enrollment increase for the first time since 2017.  

According to The University of New Mexico’s Office of Institutional Analysis, the incoming freshman class of 2025 was estimated to be over 3,000 students, an increase of 10% from the previous school year. In contrast, NMSU’s incoming freshman class is at 2,012 students, a 7.4% decrease from the previous year.  

Miner stated that the reasoning behind UNM’s and NMSU’s numbers has to do with the future of higher education. Potential students remain undecided about whether to pursue their degrees during the pandemic, postpone their education or move out-of-state.  

“The pandemic impacted prospective students and families differently across the country.” Miner said. “Students were faced with unprecedented decisions to make regarding taking a year off or attending college out-of-state,” “As the world moves forward from the pandemic, we know where we need to focus and are optimistic in the return of the student behaviors we have seen in the past.” He added.  

Miner argued that his department is working diligently to attract prospective students with initiatives like on-campus events, such as Aggie Experience, and emphasizing the great qualities that NMSU has to offer. One of those qualities being the affordability factor or as Miner referred to it, the “value of an NMSU degree.”  

“With the return of face-to-face recruitment events, prospective students and families are energetic and excited about the college search process once again,” Miner added.  

The OIA report also found continuing undergraduate enrollment, upperclassmen, to be down by 4% while continuing graduate enrollment was up by 5.8%  

A full look at the report’s findings can be found by visiting the Office of Institutional Analysis website, oia.nmsu.edu.  

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