USM Data Snapshot: System Enrollment Remains Robust for Fall 2019

Racial Diversity Continues to Grow, Strong Interest in STEM/Healthcare Majors, Undergraduate Graduation Rates Continue to Rise

Baltimore, Md. (Sept. 5, 2019) – As all campuses of the University System of Maryland (USM) begin the Fall 2019 semester, system-wide enrollment continues to be robust, providing access to a wide diversity of students.

According to estimates provided by the USM Office of Institutional Research, total Fall 2019 enrollment across all 12 system campuses and three regional academic centers is expected to exceed 170,000 students—of that total, 78 percent will be undergraduates, and an estimated 14,000 will begin as first-time, full-time freshmen.

Over the next decade, USM estimates that undergraduate enrollment will expand 6.4 percent—from 135,132 to over 143,768. Graduate enrollment is projected to grow by 7.3 percent during the same period, from 41,298 to 44,318.

Students of color now make up the majority of both graduate and undergraduate students enrolled across the system—which includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) such as Bowie State University, Coppin State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore—as well as nationally ranked research, graduate and comprehensive institutions such as the University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Salisbury University, Towson University; and the USM's city-centered undergraduate/graduate/law school campus, the University of Baltimore. The system's western-most institution, Frostburg State University, has an undergraduate minority population of 42.5 percent (not including international exchange students), far exceeding Allegany County's 8 percent African-American population.

For the Fall of 2019, an estimated 58 percent of total USM enrollment and 57 percent of undergraduates will identify as non-white, or as non-U.S. citizens, based on historical enrollment trends.

"I am extremely pleased to see such growth rates ascross the USM in student diversity as well as enrollments in STEM and healthcare fields," said "USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. "In 2018, the Board of Regents identified enrollment goals tied both to economic dveelopment as well as with an aspiration to reflect the rich diversity of Maryland's students, faculty, and staff, and to ensure that all are more fully included, regardless of race or ethnicity, background, geneder/gender identity, or national origin. I am proud to see the USM among the leading systems in the nation in both of these important areas."

Among other trends in the USM Fall 2019 data estimates:
Enrollment by Major: Nearly 40,000 undergraduates in Fall 2019 are STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and another 10,000 students are majoring in the health professions. In its 2018 update to the 2020 USM Strategic Plan, the Regents identified targets for expanding bachelor’s degrees earned annually by underrepresented minority students in STEM and health fields by more than 1,800 and 1,000 – increases of 14 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Enrollment by Gender: While final Fall 2019 data will not be available until this November, it is anticipated that there will be a roughly even breakdown between female and male students enrolled across the USM. In 2018, 52 percent of all students were female, and 48 percent were male.

Enrollment by Region: Statewide, students from central Maryland counties—Montgomery, Howard, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City—will likely represent the majority of undergraduates attending USM institutions this fall. In Fall 2018, there were nearly 87,000 students from these counties. Next come students from western Maryland—Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties—at 7,389. From Southern Maryland, the counties of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s totaled 5,386. And, finally, the lower Eastern Shore—Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester counties—had 3,453 students. Official and finalized enrollment data on each Maryland county for Fall 2018 is here.

In-State vs. Out-of-State Enrollment: The USM anticipates its Fall 2019 ratio of in-state to out-of-state undergraduate students will mirror the previous year, in which 79 percent of students were in-state and 21 percent of students were from out-of-state. In 2018, undergraduate enrollment increased 1.4 percent from 2017 to 135,154—and a similar increase is anticipated for Fall 2019 for in-state undergraduates.  For out-of-state students in Fall of 2018, the Mid-Atlantic states of New York (10,279), Virginia (6,271), and New Jersey (4,249) continued to be significant draws for USM institutions—but some undergraduates came from as far away as Hawaii (581), Alaska (153), and the state of Washington (696).

Graduation/Completion Rates:  According to USM Institutional Research, the USM conferred more than 27,000 bachelor’s degrees during the 2018-2019 academic year. The most recent cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen represents a graduation rate of 72 percent--an all-time high for any six-year USM cohort. That means nearly three-quarters of first-time freshman students will graduate within six years (the national benchmark period) from a USM institution.  

Looking ahead, enrollment management plans for all USM institutions are focused on securing an increased market share of Maryland high school graduates from 2020 to 2025. The Board of Regents will be updated on final 2019-20 enrollment and degree production data during the course of the new academic year.  (The USM Office of Institutional Research typically receives finalized fall 2019 enrollment data later in the semester and presents that data to the Board of Regents during a public meeting in November.) The supporting materials for the April 19, 2019 board meeting at which the incremental growth strategy was approved are available here (p. 290.)


The University System of Maryland (USM) is the state’s public higher education system. USM’s 12 institutions, 3 regional higher education centers, and system office work closely together to leverage their collective expertise and resources, share best practices, increase the system’s effectiveness and efficiency, and advance USM's mission to improve the quality of life in Maryland.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719