When the University of Montana released its fall enrollment numbers at the end of September, the prognosis was that enrollment had declined by 4.8 percent. University of Montana History Professor Mehrdad Kia says that the numbers offered can be misleading and that a look at the number students enrolled full time is a better gauge of the situation. Mehrdad argues that looking at Full Time Equivalent students paints a bleaker, but more accurate picture and gave this example of the freshman undergraduate class.

"We have 7,392 students, last year at this time we had 8,035, that is a drop of 8 percent, that is a significant drop. In fall 2016, the University of Montana has 17 international students, that is a drop of nearly 30 percent!" Kia said.

Kia says that his biggest concern is that Montana State University has replaced the University of Montana as the state’s flagship school and points to the hiring of 70 new MSU Professors this year, to make his point.

"With 16,440 students this is a University which was always second to the University of Montana, and now, of course it has the largest budget, it has the largest number of students, and it is the biggest employer in the Montana University System."

Kia says the problem has been a failed recruitment program and says he is hopeful that Tom Crady, the new vice president for enrollment, can help turn the ship around.