Enrollment at the University of Montana has declined for several years, but some good news was announced on Monday that summer enrollment grew by an impressive 17 percent from a year ago.

Cathy Cole, the new Vice President for Enrollment Management and strategic communications released the numbers on Monday.

“We did have a record class for the second year in a row for the summer term, said Cole. “We’re very pleased that students took the opportunity to join us for the summer semester where for the first time we offered Pell grants, so we think that that had an impact on our enrollment.”

Cole said students were also enthusiastic about the number of online classes available during the summer term.

“We also offered about 180 online courses, so that helped as well,” she said. “We’re trying to meet our students where they are learning, and we know that online is a destination for them, so we really are trying to meet their needs and I think we met them on a couple of different fronts, both on the investment in their education and  on the way that they’re learning.”

There were 2,932 students enrolled this summer compared to 2,493 last year. Summer enrollment in 2018 was the highest at UM since 2014.

Having graduated nearly 2,000 students this spring and summer, officials say they are prepared for a lower number of students on campus in the fall.