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UMaine System overall enrollment down, out-of-state enrollment rising

The University of Maine System (UMS) has seen a large increase in out-of-state students in the fall enrollment period, despite the number of students across the system dropping marginally.

Of all seven universities in UMS, there was a decrease of nearly 3 percent in overall student population. Last fall the UMS saw 29,325 students, this year, that number fell to 28,529 students.

The University of Maine’s flagship campus saw an increase of 7 percent of out-of-state students during Fall 2015. Now, the student body is made up of about 30 percent out-of-state students, with 3,157 out of 10,906 students coming from out of state.

The estimated annual tuition and fees cost at UMaine for a Maine resident is around $10,000. Out-of-state students pay nearly triple that amount. Despite the huge jump in rates, many out-of-state students still chose UMaine. Jeremy Bowser, a fourth-year student, said he chose UMaine to get away.

“I picked UMaine to get away from the city stuff,” Bowser said. “UMaine is a good school, but everyone has their own reason for going places.”

While UMaine may seem uninteresting to some students who have spent a lot of time in state, it seems to be a piece of paradise to those just arriving,” Angela Alcock, a former UMaine student from Massachusetts, said.

“I fell in love with the school and the campus while I was there on a high school field trip,” Alcock said. “The campus was large and beautiful. It just felt like I could fit right in with the environment.”

In-state enrollment is down 4.7 percent systemwide, but these numbers are about what the system officials expected.

“With fewer high school graduates and more competition from private and for-profit institutions, our in-state enrollment is consistent with our expectations,” Redonnet told the Portland Press Herald.

With over a quarter of the student population paying triple the in-state student tuition rate, the University of Maine system is glad to have them coming in. Chief Student Affairs Officer Rosa Redonnett told the Portland Press Herald the increases are “an important financial boost” to the campuses.

The campus can only host so many students, and the University has a rigorous process for admitting students. Like all universities, test scores, GPA, high-school transcripts, extracurricular activities, character traits and written recommendations are all taken into consideration from year to year.

UMaine does not choose students based on their sex, ethnicity or religious affiliation. Prior to this year, the university took state residency into consideration.

The admissions office did not clarify why these considerations were removed for this academic year, or whether in-state students were preferred over out-of-state students. However, officials did say that state residency played a “minimal role” in comparison to the other considerations for accepted students.

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