New Mexico State University had a total of 28,262 students across all campuses Sept. 6, the university's fall 2013 census date. That's a drop of 5.1 percent from the number recorded the previous year. NMSU's Las Cruces campus tallied 16,765 students, a decrease of 5 percent.
"We expected our enrollment to be down, as a system, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and that's what we're seeing," said Bernadette Montoya, NMSU's vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. "What we are learning from our colleagues at other universities around the state is that they are showing flat or decreased enrollment as well."
Each of NMSU's community colleges showed a decrease in enrollment for fall 2013. Enrollment at NMSU Alamogordo this semester was 2,458, down 22.5 percent from last fall. NMSU Carlsbad's enrollment was 1,861, down 9.7 percent from the previous year. NMSU's Dona Ana Community College had 8,837 students, down 4.7 percent. NMSU Grants had 970 students, down 15 percent.
"We have fewer first-time freshmen, which we believe is related to a decrease in high school graduates in New Mexico and the improving economy," Montoya said. "When we look at the demographics, we predict the number of high school graduates in the state to increase over the next five years."
Student credit hours for fall 2013 totaled nearly 318,000 across all NMSU campuses, down about 4.1 percent. NMSU's Las Cruces campus had more than 196,000 student credit hours, down 3.5 percent from the previous year.
Montoya said her office would continue to analyze the enrollment data and give an in-depth report to the NMSU Board of Regents during their meeting Oct. 18.