September 5, 2003
In its 125-year history the University of Maine at Fort Kent has never seen such a large number of entering students or seen the student body register for as many courses as they have at the start of this semester.
On the first day of classes, Thursday, September 4, the registrar's office, had registered a record 351 new students, and the university, which had never recorded more than 11,000 credit hours, saw that number soar to 11,690, topping the previous record set in the fall of 2000 by more than 700 credit hours.
This year's incoming class represents a 10.7 percent increase over the previous record of 317 new students who entered UMFK at this time last year. The all-time high credit hour generation, which is reflective of the boost in the number of new students, represents a jump of more than ten percent over last year's numbers.
"These are phenomenal numbers," said Melik Khoury, director of admissions. "They couldn't come at a more fitting time as UMFK begins a year-long celebration that will take both a look at its rich past and also look ahead to its vibrant future. Furthermore, these figures are truly indicative of a great team effort, certainly on the part of the admissions staff, but also to the credit of the entire campus community that works with great dedication at making this an attractive university to prospective students."
Campus officials saw early indications that they may be headed toward record enrollment numbers in mid-August when the university had exceeded 10,000 credit hours for the first-time ever prior to the first week of classes, however, were anxiously awaiting the numbers on opening day.
"We truly have a great deal to celebrate! 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," said President Richard W. Cost. "It's going to be a great year!"
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.
Donald Raymond, long-time UMFK registrar says the numbers are confirmation of a focused enrollment management effort.
"After looking at our resources, we have met, in terms of faculty and physical infrastructure, our enrollment goals," said Raymond. "These are the highest numbers we have ever seen."
In addition to larger numbers, the admissions office is citing 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.