As students discover the affordability and convenience of attending college closer to home, the University of Mississippi-Tupelo has seen record enrollment and expanded courses and degree offerings.
Branch Campus Niche
“A number of our students have actually attended senior institutions, even the main campus of our university in Oxford, and simply found that it was not what they were looking for, so they chose to come back home and attend our branch campus here,” says UM-Tupelo Dean Jim Pate. “Nationally, there’s a real strong trend for students seeking to complete their degree programs closer to home, and the economy is driving some of that for sure.”
UM-Tupelo’s enrollment these days ranges from 650 to 750 students, and Pate attributes the campus branch's growth to its strong partnership with the region’s community colleges and an aggressive recruitment program.
Three recruiters work on the Tupelo campus and a fourth works at UM-Booneville, where students at both sites can take many of the prerequisite courses needed for their degree.
With the number of classes up to about 150 each semester, UM-Tupelo offers several undergraduate tracks, as well as master’s degree programs in education and an online master’s degree program in business administration.
That’s a far cry from the few courses taught in the four-room downtown office building that housed the campus in the early 1970s.
One-Stop Shop for Colleges
Today, UM-Tupelo calls the 85,000-square-foot Advanced Education Center home. The campus also houses Itawamba Community College and the Mississippi University for Women, which offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“The average age of UM-Tupelo students is 28, highlighting the critical niche the school plays for nontraditional students,” Pate says.
Courses taught at the campus are selected, as much as possible, to meet the needs of students wanting to earn college credit while maintaining full-time employment or meeting family commitments.
Find out more about Tupelo, MS area colleges.