UMS Bulletins
FOR RELEASE: September 17, 2003
CONTACT: John Diamond 207-973-3224/ Rita Sullivan 207- 973-3245


More Than 34,700 Students Now Enrolled

BANGOR—University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal announced Wednesday that enrollment at Maine’s seven public universities has reached a record high of 34,752 students, according to the preliminary census of students taken on Sept. 16.

This represents the second year in a row that University System enrollment has broken previous records.

Total UMS enrollment has increased by 663 students since last September and by 1,797 since September 2001. Since 1997, enrollment in Maine’s public universities has increased by 4,734 students.

The current University System total represents nearly 80 percent of all students enrolled in public higher education in Maine, Westphal noted.

“The record university enrollment is another positive sign for our state,” Westphal explained. “Maine’s public universities are being recognized for the quality, access, value, and opportunities that can be found right here in Maine.

“I give a lot of credit for the record numbers to our university presidents, faculty, admissions officers, and financial aid personnel,” Westphal stated. “They have worked collaboratively with students, parents, high school guidance counselors, and teachers to promote the advantages of a university education.”

The University System census measures student enrollment in credit-bearing courses that count toward an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate-level degree. In addition to those numbers, Maine’s universities offer not-for-credit classes and certificate programs to more than 200,000 individuals annually.

Among the preliminary census findings:

  • The highest combinations of full-time and part-time students are enrolled at The University of Maine in Orono, with 11,350 students, and the University of Southern Maine, with 11,300. The University of Maine at Augusta (5,893) has the third highest combination, followed by the University of Maine at Farmington (2,392), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (1,582), the University of Maine at Machias (1,338), and the University of Maine at Fort Kent (897).

  • The University of Maine has both the largest number of full-time equivalent, or FTE, students with 8,889 and offers the most credit hours (124,800). USM is second with 7,297 FTE and 101,300 credit hours offered, followed by UMA (2,910 FTE and 43,645), UMF (2,108 FTE and 31,629), UMPI (1,272 FTE and 19,084), UMFK (780 FTE and 11,698), and UMM (771 FTE and 11,565). Those numbers are derived by dividing the student credit-hours of all part-time and full-time students by what’s considered the standard number of credit-hours taken per semester by a full-time student – 15 for undergraduate students and nine for graduate students.

  • The largest gains this academic year were found at UMM, where enrollment grew to a record high of 1,338 students, an increase of 270 over the previous year.

“For many Maine people, especially those affected by New England’s economic downturn, the smartest option is to continue their education,” Westphal explained. “Higher education remains the best opportunity for improving the employability of Maine’s workforce and the condition of our state's economy,” Westphal noted.

Westphal noted that increased student enrollment places additional demands on Maine’s public universities for student financial aid, faculty and staff, and facilities and teaching equipment.

“Higher education currently is in a growth mode,” Westphal explained. “However, demographics indicate that the number of university students could drop in future years without innovative and aggressive recruitment and outreach efforts. We intend to work with our state leaders and others in the education community to make higher education more attractive, available, and affordable to a greater percentage of Maine people.”

In addition to its seven university campuses, the University of Maine System provides course offerings at ten University College outreach centers and 100 community ITV sites throughout the state. The University System annually awards more than 4,600 college degrees; its universities currently have over 100,000 alumni living in Maine.