FARGO — Minnesota State University Moorhead expects its enrollment to continue to go down, according to preliminary numbers.

MSUM reported it had 5,047 students for the unofficial fall headcount, according to a news release issued Friday, Sept. 10. That’s down 485 students from last year, or about 9%.

Overall, the university has been on a downward trajectory since at least 2002. While there were some periods of upward trends, MSUM is slated to be down about 35% from two decades ago, if numbers hold for 2021.

The decline in enrollment is not a surprise, Brenda Amenson-Hill, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, said in a statement. The coronavirus pandemic was expected to impact enrollment, though MSUM’s count is “right in the middle of the scenarios from our projection committee,” she said.

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“MSUM is experiencing the enrollment challenges faced by universities across the country,” Director of Undergraduate Admissions Tom Reburn said in the statement. “Our admissions team is working closely with each student interested in MSUM to help them navigate the unknowns.”

Enrollment for new graduate students and new international students increased slightly, the release said. The student population is also becoming more diverse, hitting a five-year high of 14.34%, according to MSUM.

However, the totals for graduate, first-year and international student counts dropped.