For the first time since 1993, enrollment has dipped at Mississippi's eight public universities.
Figures released by the College Board show that the preliminary fall student count at the schools is down 0.6 percent to 80,532 students.
Enrollment rose at Delta State University, Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi. But it fell at the state's other universities, dropping sharply at the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Valley State University.
College and university enrollment is usually counter-cyclical, rising when the economy is bad and falling when it's better. But officials say tightened rules on federal financial aid for poor students and reductions in funding for graduate students are also cutting enrollment.
The College Board has pushed Mississippi's universities to recruit more students to offset state budget cuts.