August 15, 2003
Early figures released three weeks before the start of classes suggest the 125th academic year at the University of Maine at Fort Kent will be a banner year on the St. John Valley campus.
A comparison of numbers released last year at this time to data compiled this week show the total number of credit hours students have registered for at UMFK is up 15 percent. The increase marks the first time that the university has exceeded 10,000 credit hours prior to the first week of classes.
"I have worked on this campus for 25 years and we have never seen the total number of credit hours exceed 10,000 three weeks before the start of classes," said Donald Raymond, registrar and director of institutional research.
The jump in credit hour generation is defined, in large part, by numbers in this year's incoming class.
Looking back at the second week of August 2002, UMFK had confirmed the attendance of 285 new students, including freshmen, transfer students, and teacher certification students. This year, that figure has jumped to 343, a 20 percent increase.
"This is further confirmation that more students are discovering what UMFK has to offer. This is an historic moment in the 125-year history of this institution. Not only are we celebrating a major anniversary, but we are also seeing a significant growth in campus infrastructure with the ongoing construction of both a new residence hall and Acadian Archives building. Add to this an increase in the number of incoming students, and we truly have a great deal to celebrate," said President Richard W. Cost. "It's going to be a great year!"
In every category, incoming student enrollment figures show a double-digit increase.
At this time last year, the university admissions office had confirmed 120 new freshmen, or first-time college students. Today, that number stands at 135, a 12.5 percent increase.
The increase in students transferring from other post-secondary institutions to UMFK is also impressive. In the first half of August 2002, 55 transfer students had confirmed their attendance, this year the figure is 72, a 31 percent increase.
The number of students enrolling in the teacher certification program is up 33 percent over last year at this time. To date, 135 students, mostly from the Maritime Canadian Provinces, have confirmed with the admissions office, compared to the 101 a year ago.
"We are very proud to be bringing in a class that could be the largest in the history of the institution. It is very fitting for the university's 125th anniversary," said Melik Peter Khoury, director of admissions.
According to Khoury several campus degree programs have seen a marked increase in enrollment, including four-year offerings in nursing, public safety administration, business management, education and behavioral science, as well as two-year programs in forestry and criminal justice.
In addition to larger numbers, the admissions director cites statistics which show an increase in the quality of students in recent incoming classes. The grade point average (G.P.A.) over the past three years at UMFK has risen to an average 2.75 on a scale of 4.0.