September 30, 2005
With the official census for enrollment at the seven University of Maine System campuses expected to be released in two weeks, campus officials at the University of Maine at Fort Kent are looking at early projections, which show the number of students enrolling in courses offered by the University up 12.3 percent over last year.
The figures show UMFK has 1,209 students enrolled in classes this fall, the first time in the institution's 127-year history the number has topped 1,200, and the second consecutive year the campus student body has numbered over 1,000.
A year ago, UMFK had 1,076 students registered in the fall semester, a jump of 133 students.
"There are many factors attributing to this increase, but certainly at the top of the list is the growing recognition of the importance of attending a small campus," said UMFK President Richard Cost. "Our institution has clearly-defined its top assets, which include a close-knit campus community, a unique rural location, an abundance of wonderful recreational opportunities, and a friendly bilingual community we call home. New and returning students are discovering these treasures."
The 12.3 percent increase comes on the heels of a record-breaking 17 percent jump in enrollment last fall, when the institution saw its largest-ever incoming class of 399 students.
Comparatively, the total number of students in the fall 2005 incoming class is down slightly at 368, but remains ahead of the previous record high entering class of 357 students in the fall of 2003.
Two areas attributing to the growth in UMFK's overall student population this fall, are a high retention of matriculating students and a near doubling in the number of students at other campuses enrolling in distance education courses originating from Fort Kent.
UMFK has seen an impressive 94.5 percent increase in students enrolling in these courses. Last fall, 110 students at other campuses around the state had registered for courses offered through the University of Maine System Network for Education and Technology Services (UNET) offered by UMFK. This year, that number has jumped to 214 students.
These courses consist of both offerings over the University of Maine System Interactive Television (ITV) Network, as well as courses offered on-line over the Internet.
In the fall of 2004, UMFK faculty delivered 15 distance education courses. This semester the number has increased to 20 UNET courses originating from Fort Kent.
The positive enrollment numbers at UMFK come a month after the institution was named a "Best College in the Northeastern Region 2006" by The Princeton Review, a national organization dedicated to helping students, parents, and educators achieve the best outcomes at all stages of their educational careers.