Despite a slight drop in enrollment, students at the University of Southern Mississippi are returning to near pre-Katrina levels--thanks to the newest wave of undergraduates.
USM officials say fueled by a 9-percent increase in this year's freshman class, enrollment numbers are beginning to return to what they were before Katrina forced many to withdraw. According to the Institution of Higher Learning, the enrollment numbers at USM record a total of nearly 14,800 students enrolled at the Hattiesburg Campus and other satellite sites across the state. Officials say the record number of first-time, full-time freshman are helping USM's student population bounce bank.
Southern Miss's enrollment numbers put the university behind student populations of Mississippi State, with 16,200 students, and Ole Miss, who came in with the highest number of students enrolled, at just over 17,300.