UMaine Welcomes Class of 2013; Overall Enrollment Projected to Grow

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Approximately 700 University of Maine students, faculty members, staff members and others turned out today to welcome the university’s new first-year students, the Class of 2013.  The backbone of UMaine’s traditional “Maine Hello” program, those volunteers met the new students and their families as they arrived at residence halls, greeted them warmly, and then moved their belongings into rooms.

“We do all the lifting when new students join our community,” says Robert Dana, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.  “The new students and their parents appreciate the contact with our volunteers, and we all enjoy playing a role in this exciting transition for those families.”

UMaine’s overall student population is expected to grow for the 12th consecutive year.  While enrollment numbers do not become official until Oct. 15, total enrollment is projected at 11,925, approximately one percent higher than last year’s official enrollment.

The increase is partly attributable to a projected significant improvement in student retention — those students who remain enrolled at the university, as opposed to transferring or suspending their studies.  Based on current information, the retention rate for those students who enrolled last fall is 79.4 percent, a three percent increase over the previous year’s rate.  Since the class that began in 2008 was the largest in UMaine’s history, the number of returning students from that group helps offset a year-to-year decline in new first-year students.

“The retention news is most encouraging,” says UMaine President Robert Kennedy.  “It tells us that our students are having good experiences in the classroom and in our community, and that they appreciate the quality and value of the University of Maine.  Our faculty and staff work hard to assure that all of our students have appropriate opportunities to succeed and thrive as members of our community.  We have focused a lot of effort on retaining our students, and this increase suggests that those efforts are paying off.”

The Class of 2013 numbers 1,803 students, down from last year’s final total of 2,094.

“While we would have liked to have seen the number of new first-year students continue to grow beyond last year’s high-water mark, it has been obvious to us for quite some time that we would see a decrease in that number,” Kennedy says.  “The decline in the number of students graduating from Maine high schools, along with difficult economic conditions, have conspired to cause this decrease. Once those factors abate, I am certain that first-year enrollment will begin to grow again.”

Eighty percent of UMaine students are Maine residents.

Forty-eight states and 73 countries are represented in the UMaine student population.

Note: Historical total enrollment comparisons reflect adjustments to discount those students who enrolled at University College of Bangor when it was affiliated with UMaine for several years, ending in 1995.