August 6, 2004
As faculty, staff, and returning students of the University of Maine at Fort Kent gear up for the start of another academic year, campus officials are looking at a record number of freshmen and the largest incoming class ever seen at the northernmost campus in the University of Maine System.
To date, 893 students have applied to UMFK for the fall semester. This number is up from 721 last year, which marks an increase of 23 percent.
Of those applicants, students who have confirmed their attendance at UMFK this fall total 370, which consists of 170 incoming freshman, students who have never attended university before, 70 transfer students, and 130 students who will be working toward their teacher certification. With the start of the academic year still a month away, confirmations have surpassed that of last year when 355 students were confirmed when the fall semester got underway.
"I am very excited about the fact that our largest target increase for this fall is our freshman students, in which we will have a record number in the history of the school. The largest incoming freshman class was 138 students in the fall of 2003, and as of today we have 170 confirmed for this fall, an impressive 23 percent increase," said Melik Peter Khoury, director of admissions.
"This is truly a great time to become part of the UMFK campus community," said President Richard Cost. "We begin the year with new facilities, new faculty, and a beautiful campus. Beneath it all though, what I think we're really seeing is a growing recognition of the importance of attending a small campus where every student is a valued member of our community. Last year more than a third of our Maine students came from beyond the county. They came here for the small college experience and our wonderful environment."
Along with an increase in the overall number of students attending UMFK this fall, there are increases in 16 of the 22 programs offered. Significant increases are seen in nursing, a 60% jump in the number of applicants from last year, business management, an increase of 35%, and the traditional four-year education degree is realizing a 42% increase.
Increases are also seen in the number of students utilizing on-campus housing. With the opening of the new residence hall, the university is able to provide housing for up to 300 students, double the previous number. This fall, 140 new students will be living on-campus at UMFK for the very first time. This number, along with returning students will bring the total number of students living on campus to 271 to date.
"The hard work and dedication my staff has devoted to the admissions process at the University of Maine at Fort Kent dispels the perception that growth comes at the expense of quality. I say this because as we are realizing our second banner year in a row, we do this with an increase in the academic quality of our students. Our average GPA for incoming students is 2.67 which include five students who were in the top three of their graduating classes and the majority of incoming students graduated in the top half of their classes," added Khoury.