BANGOR For the third year in a row, enrollment within the University of Maine System exceeds 34,000 students, with those students taking a record-high number of courses and credit hours.
Those are among the findings of the University Systems annual October student census, which is used to benchmark a wide variety of statistics pertaining to demographics and trends in student enrollment. The information is compiled and analyzed to help determine policies and practices regarding a broad range of areas, including academic programming, student financial assistance, fiscal planning, technology investment, and facility needs.
According to the fall census, 34,253 students are enrolled in credit-bearing courses. The 2004 total is the second-highest in the University Systems history, just a half-percentage point lower than last years record high enrollment of 34,375. Of that amount, 20,714 students were enrolled as full-time students, an increase of 295 over the previous year. The number of part-time students totals 13,539, a reduction of 417 from last years number.
"We are continuing our effort to provide high quality, affordable, and accessible education," said University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal. "Maines future depends on cultivating an educated and qualified workforce, and we will continue to aggressively encourage Maine learners of all ages to pursue education at the next level."
Overall, students this semester are taking more classes than in past years, resulting in a record total of 345,781 credit hours being taught by faculty members across the University System. The combination of part-time and full-time student credit hours being provided creates the equivalent full-time enrollment of 24,118 students, a record net increase of 180 students over 2003.
Four of the seven universities experienced net increases in student enrollment, while three experienced net declines. Most of the decline is found among the number of students enrolled in associate-degree and non-degree programs and courses, which appears to correlate with growth in those areas among Maines community colleges. Under its recently approved Strategic Plan, the University System intends to eventually transfer most of its associate-degree programs to the community colleges as a way to avoid unnecessary duplication of offerings and to focus academic programming on bachelors and graduate degree programs.
More than three-quarters of students enrolled in public higher education in Maine attend a University of Maine System school. Enrollment totals for each of Maines public universities, and the net change from 2003, are:
The University of Maine: 11,358, a 136-student increase
University of Southern Maine: 11,089, an 82-student increase
University of Maine at Augusta: 5,538, a 405-student decrease
University of Maine at Farmington: 2,349, a 71-student decrease
University of Maine at Presque Isle: 1,652, a 106-student increase
University of Maine at Machias: 1,191, a 122-student decrease
University of Maine at Fort Kent: 1,076, a 152-student increase
Other notable statistics include:
Almost 88 percent of students are Maine residents, following the pattern of the past several years.
The largest numbers of in-state students come from Cumberland (6,007) and Penobscot (4,785) counties. The fewest numbers of in-state students come from Piscataquis (366) and Lincoln (688) counties.
More than 62 percent of students enrolled in Maines seven public universities and 11 academic outreach centers are women.
Maines public universities include students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massachusetts is home to more than 23 percent of the Systems 4,262 out-of-state students.
Student enrollment includes residents of 87 countries, with 799 Canadian students representing the largest foreign delegation.
Enrollment in off-campus distance learning courses, which are delivered through University College outreach centers and learning sites, increased by nearly one percent to 3,504 students. Of those distance learning students, 80 percent are part-time students; 79 percent are women; and 79 percent are 23 years of age or older.
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the States largest educational institution, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven universities some with multiple campuses located across the State, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. For more information, log onto www.maine.edu.