February 6, 2004
Enrollment at the University of Maine at Fort Kent has hit a new high for a spring semester on the state's northernmost campus, and interest in the St. John Valley university from prospective students for the fall semester has seen a significant rise.
The campus community is welcoming a record-breaking 102 new students this semester, including first-time freshmen, transfers from other schools, and Canadian education certification students. Last year, UMFK welcomed 83 new students in the spring, marking a 23 percent increase, and the first time UMFK has brought in more than 100 new students in a spring semester.
Overall numbers at UMFK show the credit hours generated by the student body has jumped 17 percent over last year at this time, bringing the campus to over 11,000 credit hours for the first time ever in a spring semester. A year ago, UMFK students had signed up for 9,379 credit hours. The figure this year has risen to 11,002 hours.
"These are phenomenal numbers," said Melik Khoury, director of admissions. "Of particular note is the relatively large number of new freshman and transfer students we are welcoming to our campus this semester. Traditionally our incoming class in the spring is composed primarily education certification students from Canada. This semester 26 percent of students in our incoming class are first-time freshmen and 44 percent are transfers from other Maine and U.S. institutions."
In addition to welcoming this semester's impressive figures, UMFK campus officials are anticipating an impressive bounce in the number of new students on campus this fall.
Compared to the number of applications for admission the campus received last year at this time, UMFK is realizing a 36.5 percent increase in applicants for the fall semester. To date the campus has received 412 applications, compared to 302 in 2003.
"These numbers indicate an increased number of people, both in our region and in the state, who recognize the value of public higher education. Furthermore it is affirmation that this campus community is becoming an ideal choice for an increasing number of individuals who are looking to further their education and prepare for exciting careers in a small college setting," said UMFK President Richard Cost.
The UMFK leader has challenged the campus to increase its student body to 1,000 with the understanding that university infrastructure and personnel grow to accommodate the addition demand.
The first sign of that growth is the addition of a new $7 million, three-story residence hall which will double the current on-campus student housing at UMFK when the facility is complete early this summer.
To accommodate future student enrollment growth, the university is targeting the construction of a new student classroom building as a top priority on its list of future additions to campus infrastructure.