Maine’s Public Universities Expanding Access and Attracting Students to Maine to Increase the Size and Skills of the Maine Workforce
Reports and Recommendations on Workforce Engagement, Research and Development, Adult Degree Completion, and Early College presented to Board of Trustees at Machias meeting
MACHIAS, MAINE — The University of Maine System received an enrollment report at its meeting today that shows that Maine’s public universities are serving larger numbers of students outside of the traditional 18-to-24 age range associated with undergraduate education. The Spring 2019 Enrollment Report also points to increases in the delivery of online education and continued success in attracting more out-of-state students to Maine.
Overall headcount has increased 1.5% across the University of Maine System. Maine leads enrollment growth among all New England four-year Public Higher Education Systems.
33.9% of UMS Students Now Over the Age of 24: The number of University of Maine System students over the age of 24 has grown to a headcount of 9,273, representing 33.9% of the total student population. The growth reflects the commitment and progress Maine’s public universities have made to help career-focused adult learners earn degrees and credentials valued by Maine employers. Expanded online learning options, program innovations, a public-private partnership with a global leader in technology-enabled education, service to veterans, adult degree completion scholarships, and focused student support are all part the effort.
The University of Maine System is a founding member of MaineSpark, a coalition of organizations with a shared commitment: by 2025 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position that Maine and its families for success.
The Board received a report on the System’s Adult Degree Completion Implementation Plan that highlighted the flexibility and support required to help service adults across the state. Additional resources are a important component of the plan and Maine Governor Janet Mills’ proposed biennial budget includes an additional $4 million to support adult degree completion initiatives.
171% Grow In Early College over Five Years: Investments in early college programming and new partnerships that have grown to include collaborations with more than 100 local Maine schools have increased the number of University of Maine System students under the age of 18 from 504 in the Spring of 2015 to 1,366 students in the Spring of 2019, a 171% five-year increase. Students under the age of 18 now make up 11% of the System’s student population. Over the course of the academic year 3,500 students will participate in early college programming offered by the universities.
The University of Maine System has set a goal of enrolling 5,000 high school students in early college courses by 2022. Governor Mills has proposed $3 million in additional support for early college programming and local school partnerships as part of her biennial budget request.
10.5% Increase in online credit hours, now 23.8% of all credit hours offered: Distance education continues to increase as the University of Maine System continues to make programs available through distance modalities. The University of Maine at Augusta, with a strong focus on non-traditional students, now delivers 59.5% of its credit hours online.
The University of Maine System entered into a private-public partnership in the Fall of 2018 with a global leader in technology-enabled education. The agreement is expected to leverage a multimillion-dollar investment and program innovations to expand access to online education. A new RN to BSN program, special education curriculum and instruction, English as a second language, and competency based programs in accounting and business administration will launch in the Fall of 2019.
8.4% Growth in Out-of-State Enrollment: Headcount in out-of-state enrollment increased in the Spring 2019 semester to 4,900 students, a 46.8% five-year increase in spring semester out-of-state enrollment. These students will have a lifelong connection to Maine and many will begin their careers in the Maine workforce.
Reports and Recommendations on Strategic Priorities: The Board of Trustees also reviewed reports and recommendations advancing the Declaration of Strategic Priorities adopted by the Board at its December 2018 meeting. The priorities were developed to sustain and expand the One University initiative and establish an efficient, cost-effective continuum of public education that provides lifelong access to flexible, relevant 21st Century learning.
Presentations to the Board included a Workforce Engagement Report, University of Maine System Research and Development Plan, Adult Degree Completion Implementation Plan, and, an Early College overview.