Saturday, January 28, 2023

Newsmaker Interview – OM Growth, Out-of-State Students, Continue Rise

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications
Mary Harrington,

The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a contributor who interviews Oxford’s leading personalities.
Steve says: “I recently had the pleasure to meet with Mary M. Harrington, Director of Institutional Research Assessment for The University of Mississippi. We talked about many subjects, but the conversation kept returning to the unprecedented growth that Ole Miss is experiencing along with some very encouraging trends.”
HT.Com — With the record freshmen classes that the University is now experiencing, is there a “cap” somewhere in the near future?
Director Harrington —”In 2013, Ole Miss had its largest freshmen class ever at 3,582. As a comparison, it was 2,192 in 2005 (this is a 63.4 percent increase). In regards to a cap, as long as the incoming freshmen meet/exceed our academic requirements, we are obligated to accept them for admission. Managing the growth is a major concern.”
HT.Com — Once the students arrive in Oxford, is retention then the paramount issue?
Director Harrington – “There is a strong correlation between first to second year retention and graduation rates. Ole Miss is currently reflecting some very positive trends in this area. For example, the retention percentage increased from 80.8 in 2011 to 85.6 in 2012. In 1994, the percentage was 69.1 and 73 percent in 1983. This is most encouraging as to retention.”
HT.Com —There is always discussion going around Oxford because of the tremendous number of out-of-state cars. How do we presently compare in-state students to non-residents?
Director Harrington — “In 2011, we experienced the first year when non-residents (freshmen) exceeded in-state students. Overall in-state residents were 63.6 percent for 2013.”
HT.Com —Which states are we seeing the greatest increases occurring in actual numbers?
Director Harrington — “From the fall of 2009 to the fall of 2013, these states reflected the highest student increases: Texas 404; Georgia 360;  Illinois 144; California 131; Missouri 116; Virginia 113; and Florida 101.”
HT.Com — Is it true that the number of in-state students actually decreased from 2012 to 2013?
Crosby Hall is so full that sophomores now have to find accommodations off campus.

Director Harrington — “This is correct. Although the actual decrease was only 86 students, the in-state competition with IHL institutions, private schools and community and junior colleges is significant.”
HT.Com — What are the top seven states (excluding Mississippi) for enrollment as of 2013?
Director Harrington —”The numbers are as follows: Texas 1085; Tennessee 1078; Georgia 1019; Alabama 494; Florida 363; Missouri 361; and Louisiana was 326.”
(We did not have time to discuss where our highest in-state county enrollment is originating. According to the numbers published for the fall of 2013 by Institutional Research, the leading counties were as follows: Lafayette 1764; De Soto 1318; Madison 852; Lee 810; Hinds 729; and Rankin 512.)
Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie.