Enrollment for the 2015-16 academic year at Montana State University Billings is down nearly 10 percent compared with the 2014-15 academic year, according to university officials

The official 15th class-day count showed there were 1,275 students enrolled in City College and 3,154 at the university.

A year-to-year comparison shows the total number of two-year degree seekers at City College remained relatively unchanged.  However, the university campus, home to MSU Billings four-year and graduate degrees, was down nearly 10 percent, according to Aaron Clingingsmith, director of University Relations and Communication.

A closer look at the students enrolled this autumn shows a significant decrease in first-time freshmen. The 674 students that comprise this year’s first-time freshman cohort is down nearly 12 percent when compared with the previous year.

“We as a system have understood for several years that we are operating in an environment where high school numbers are declining,” Chancellor Mark Nook said in a prepared release.  “We understand this decrease isn’t going to remedy itself in the short-term, which makes it imperative that we focus on retaining every student possible and ensuring they meet their educational and professional goals.”