USM Fall Enrollment Update: Freshman Enrollment Levels Reach All-Time High, Strong Trend of Transfer Students Continues

Adelphi, Md. (Dec. 1, 2016) -- The number of first-time, full-time freshman students in the University System of Maryland (USM) increased to the highest levels in fall 2016, according to a report delivered recently to the USM Board of Regents Committee on Education Policy and Student Life.

The total of 13,398 first-time, full-time freshmen a standard measure for the "traditional" college student who attends college full-time immediately after high school represents a one-year increase of nearly 1,000 students.

It is anticipated that a substantial majority of these students will earn degrees.

"As a group, two-thirds of these students will complete their degree, in an average of 4-1/2 years," Chad Muntz, USM director of institutional research, told members of the Board of Regents Committee on Finance. "From a financial perspective, they'll spend 4-1/2 years paying tuition."

USM institutions and university campuses throughout the nation study enrollment data carefully. They are an important measure of whether a college or university is likely to achieve the mission of graduating more students.

Growth in enrollment is an important component in USM's 2020 strategic plan to help the state of Maryland achieve its goal of 55-percent degree completion (associate's and bachelor's degrees) by 2020, in part by increasing the number of additional students by an additional 45,000 over 2009 levels.

Preliminary fall 2016 headcount enrollment at USM campuses overall was 171,143, an increase of 6,644 over fall 2015.

Enrollment measures also are important to the USM because they help the system manage its budget expectations more effectively. Reducing the time-to-degree for USM students has been an important goal since the system initiated its original Effectiveness & Efficiency (E&E) program in 2003.

"That time-to-degree measure has diminished tremendously since the start of E&E, when that statistic was over five years," said Joe Vivona, USM Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance.

The USM approach to managing enrollment does not focus singly on increasing the number of incoming freshmen. Rather, this traditional source of new students represents a part of the system's enrollment strategy.

Today, nearly two-thirds of students in the USM have arrived as transfer students, largely from community colleges in Maryland. This trend is promising, because transfer students at such USM schools as Bowie State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Baltimore and Coppin State-and have demonstrated better academic performance and higher degree completion rates.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719