USM Sees Record Enrollment Increase; Headcount Climbs to 143,000

ADELPHI, Md. (October 17, 2008) - The number of students attending University System of Maryland (USM) institutions has jumped four percent in the last year, reaching a record high of 143,416 total full- and part-time students statewide as of fall 2008, the system announced today. This increase translates into an additional 6,000 students over fall 2007's total enrollment (137,412).

"These numbers testify to the success of our efforts to increase access to affordable, high-quality academic programs, but growth also poses challenges," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Meeting the increasing demand for public higher education as we navigate our way through uncertain economic times will be one of the major issues that we will have to address as we strive to improve Maryland's competitiveness in the global knowledge economy."

Recent trends in USM's enrollment growth include:

  • Total annual enrollment has grown 14,991 since fall 2005-adding the student population equivalent of a campus the size of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to the system in the last three years;
  • All USM universities increased their total enrollments in fall 2008 with Towson University (TU) and University of Maryland University College (UMUC) seeing the largest headcount increases of +1,353 and +1,590 respectively;
  • Bowie State University (BSU) and Salisbury University (SU) also saw significant headcount increases of +80 and +287 respectively.

BSU, SU, TU, and UMUC are USM's designated "growth institutions" under the Enrollment Funding Initiative (EFI) developed in collaboration with the Governor's Office and General Assembly. EFI helps relieve pressure on university operating budgets as a result of increasing enrollments by funding projected growth. Under the EFI plan for FY 2009, USM projected an increase of +1,577 full-time equivalent students over FY 2008. USM has surpassed this goal by nearly 200 percent.

"Several factors are converging to prompt this surge," said Gayle Fink, USM's director of institutional research. "We are witnessing the effects of increasing high school graduation rates, increasing institutional financial aid, and larger numbers of people returning to college during economic downturns."

USM projects total annual enrollment to grow 24 percent-more than 33,000 students-by 2017.

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719