The University of Montana released its 2014 spring enrollment numbers today, February 27, and are reporting total enrollment of 13,544 students, a decrease of 971 students from last fall. 

University officials say the decrease is pretty normal and was within the expected range.

"It does meet the enrollment projections," said UM spokeswoman Peggy Kuhr. "The number represents about a 6.7 percent decline from last fall's enrollment. What we all know is that universities routinely have declines in enrollment from the fall to the spring semester."

Indeed, Montana State University also saw a decline in student attendance from fall to spring this year. MSU total student enrollment dropped by 1192 students to 14,102: a record spring enrollment, but still a decline from fall to spring.

One of the main causes for the difference is graduating students. In fact, all but 135 of the students that left UM between fall and spring did so with a new degree. Kuhr says the number of graduates is higher than it has been for quite some time.

"The number of degrees handed out at the end of the fall semester was 836, that's about 88 degrees more than a year ago," Kuhr said. "I looked back to 2010 and we had almost 200 fewer degrees back then."

The UM has been scrambling to shore up enrollment numbers with new programs to attract new students. When asked if the new programs were working, Kuhr said that the process is akin to turning a large ship around and will take some time. The new programs are expected to produce results by the 2015-16 school years.

Peggy Kuhr: