USM Enrollment Projected to Rise 24 Percent by 2017

Total Headcount to Grow by 33,000 Students Over Next Decade

ADELPHI, Md. (March 27, 2008) - While recent national statistics predict a leveling or reduction in the number of high school graduates over the next decade, the University System of Maryland (USM) projects a 24 percent increase in its total enrollment during the next 10 years, system officials have announced. Total undergraduate headcount is expected to rise 23 percent, from a current 99,031 to 121,750 by 2017, while graduate enrollment is projected to rise 25 percent during the same period, from a current 38,617 to 48,311.

Enrollment projections are critical for long- and short-term planning, system officials said, as USM assesses resources it will need--in facilities, services, personnel, and operating budgets--to serve an increasing number of students.

"Although we are seeing the end of the ‘Baby Boom Echo' generation and a leveling off of the number of high school graduates, the numbers for Maryland never fall below the very high levels that we have experienced in the last few years," said Ben Passmore, director of policy research and analysis for USM. "In fact, the interest in attending college has continued to rise year-to-year and shows no signs of abating. A recent study by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education confirms the trend that an increasing number and percentage of minority students will seek college degrees in the coming decade."

"Maryland is becoming a more diverse, majority minority state," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "The system and the state must prepare now to provide successful college transitions and affordable access to more and more students who will likely be the first in their families to attend college."

USM projects that most of the enrollment growth will occur at its comprehensive universities--Bowie State University (BSU); Coppin State University (CSU); Frostburg State University (FSU); Salisbury University (SU); Towson University (TU); University of Baltimore (UB); and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES)--and at its online university, University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Enrollments at the system's research universities--University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)--are expected to remain relatively stable over the next decade.

Highlights of USM's 10-year enrollment projections include:

  • One-year FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollment growth in FY 2009 is projected to be the largest at BSU (2.3 percent), SU (2.2 percent), TU (3.1 percent), and UB (4.6 percent). UB's growth is largely attributed to its new first- and second-year admissions program.
  • The Board of Regents has designated BSU, SU, TU, and UMUC as the system's "growth institutions" with the capacity to absorb more students in the decade ahead and targeted for enrollment growth funding under the system's Enrollment Funding Initiative (EFI).
  • As a group, USM's Historically Black Institutions (HBI)--BSU, CSU, and UMES--are projected to add approximately 5,600 headcount students; non-HBI comprehensives (FSU, SU, TU, and UB) approximately 7,800 headcount students; and research institutions (UMB, UMBC, and UMCP) approximately 2,600 headcount students by 2017.
  • UMUC is projected to have the largest headcount growth in the next decade--more than 16,000 by 2017--as a result of more working adults choosing online education as an alternative path to a higher degree.
"The fiscal and operational impact of this enrollment growth cannot be understated," said Kirwan. "Within three years alone, we expect to grow by more than 9,000 students-that's the equivalent of a campus three-quarters the size of UMBC. Meeting the growth in demand for higher education by an increasingly diverse student population needs to be at the forefront of our statewide policymaking and budget planning. It will be critical for our economic competitiveness and the quality of life for all Marylanders."

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719