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UMaine says more out-of-state and graduate students are helping to boost enrollment this fall

Town of Orono
University of Maine

The University of Maine in Orono is reporting a 2% rise in enrollment this year, mostly driven by an increase in graduate students.

President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said the growth may be a product of expanded research opportunities and online offerings for graduate students on the campus.

"We've increased the availability of some of our online graduate programs, including our MBA, which is now attracting increasing numbers of students from around the country, and around the world, actually," she said.

Officials at the Orono campus said the number of out-of-state students is also up by 5% this fall. Christopher Richards, the school's vice president of enrollment management, said he believes that the state's relative safety during the COVID-19 pandemic has likely drawn more interest in UMaine — particularly from parents.

"The safety factor, overall, has long been an element, seen as positive, for us and our recruitment in many markets. So I'm not surprised that's a piece of it," he said.

Nationwide, higher education institutions are reporting a 2% decline in enrollment this fall, and the University of Maine System as a whole is reporting a slight dip, according to preliminary numbers.