State of Missoula: UM official lauds student retention, mayor calls for tax reform

A University of Montana official got to brag on Tuesday about improved freshman enrollment numbers for the first time in a decade. Missoula’s mayor, at the same event, called for state tax reform measures to reduce the increasing burden on property owners as Missoula sees unprecedented demand for housing.

Kelly Webster, the associate vice president for strategic planning and implementation at the University of Montana, joined Missoula Mayor John Engen and others at the annual “State of Missoula” presentation hosted by the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce.

Webster noted that there’s a lot of positive news in terms of student enrollment and retention at the institution.

“Over the past four years — this is going to sound like a small number, but in higher education and public education it’s a huge number — the retention rate of our students at the University of Montana has grown by 7%,” she said. “That’s exceeded by only one of our peer institutions across the region.”

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About 75% of new students at UM are now continuing to their second year, up from about 68% four years ago. According to the National Center for Education

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