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Mississippi Valley State Sees Enrollment Increase

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ITTA BENA, Miss.–Mississippi Valley State University is not suffering some of the same enrollment problems as other public universities in Mississippi, said its president to a Senate committee this week.

“As we look and talk about addressing the enrollment cliff, we are actually bucking against that cliff,” said Dr. Jerryl Briggs, to the Committee on Public Colleges and Universities. He said the school has had a 16.9 percent increase in enrollment, which is one of the highest increases in the country for historically Black colleges and universities. But, that comes with its own set of troubles.
“We’re gonna have a challenge with student housing,” he said. “Our student housing is currently at capacity and I know, I think we all know that we’re not gonna be able to add a new residence hall in one year.”
The committee heard from several university presidents about what they might need from the state in terms of funding.
Briggs said the school is looking into what it will take to make one of three unused residence halls liveable.
Delta State has just the opposite trouble. Dr. Dan Ennis, president of Delta State, told the committee that DSU hit the enrollment cliff, which is a statistically-predicted drop in enrollment that colleges across the country are expected to see, early. And then the problem just kept happening.
“The times when small universities like Delta State can be all things to all people-it’s not realistic,” he said. “One thing we are doing is right-sizing our programs and streamlining what we do to focus in on our competencies as a university.”
That translates into cuts in academic programs and jobs.
Ennis said programs are currently being reviewed to determine what makes sense to keep and invest money in. He said eventually the university would be “delivering higher education in a very different model”.
“Some of that might be delivery like online and hybrid. A lot of it will have to do with the time, place and starting point for degree programs.”
Ennis said some of the focus will be on non-traditional students, who are not right out of high school, and serving people who may have started a degree program, but “life got in the way”.