Student demographic data are collected and analyzed with a focus on equity to inform program change. Approximately 54% of Maine students attend rural schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). This is consistent with University of Maine System (UMS) Early College (EC) data, in which the average number of rural students is 56% over the past five years (2015-2020). Race/ethnicity is only reported for publicly funded students, and the percentage of students of color has increased from 9% in 2015 to 12% in 2020 (Maine Department of Education Data Warehouse: Student Enrollment Data, 2021). Approximately 5-6% of UMS EC students between 2015 and 2020 were students of color. However, it is important to note that, on average 27% of students do not report their race/ethnicity. The average number of female students in Maine has been consistent, at 48% from 2015-2020. Female enrollment in EC courses is higher than males, with the 5-year average for females of 59% and males of 39%. This total does not equal 100% due to changes in gender reporting methods over time as described below.
As described in the outcomes section of this report, traditionally underserved students are more likely to remain in college, have higher GPAs, and are more likely to graduate on time. These data underscore the importance of the efforts of UMS EC programs to reduce student barriers to EC course access.
Demographic UMS EC Students (Total Number of Students)
|Students of Color||75||113||141||144||222||241|
1In order to designate students as rural or urban, UMS researchers used zip codes from students’ home addresses. These zip codes were then assigned to a school district based on the school administrative unit by town per the Maine Department of Education (DOE) (Gravelle, 2020). Unorganized territories were assigned based on additional DOE resources (“Maine Department of Education: Find your School,” 2020). Finally, each district (and students assigned to each district) was categorized based on Maine’s definition of rural under the Every Student Succeeds Act (J. Libby, personal communication, July 27, 2020). Students were assigned to districts based on their residence for the purposes of the rural/urban designation only, regardless of which high school students actually attended.
2Students of Color include those who self-reported as Black, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Asian, Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and two or more races. The total includes two groups not included in either White or underrepresented minority: Non-Resident Alien (a category used to report international students in IPEDS) and students who did not report their race/ethnicity to the UMS. Student outcomes data are based on the 6% of students who identified themselves as students of color. This is consistent with census data, approximately 93% of Maine residents identify themselves as white (United States Census Bureau, 2019).
3Starting in fall 2019, with the launch of the ExplorEC application portal, students system-wide were able to select “Non-binary” as their gender designation. Prior to that, early college reports included the terms “Unknown/Not Reported”.
It is not possible at this time to accurately determine the percentage of students served who are first generation students. Data available does indicate that a large proportion of students served are first generation, but because the question is optional on the EC application, many students have left this blank. Anecdotal evidence from EC Administrators indicates that UMS is consistently serving a large number of first generation students.
While UMS has demonstrated commitment to equitable access to low income students, UMS researchers do not have access to socio-economic data on the students served. UMS has been working in collaboration with the DOE to obtain this information to determine if efforts such as the elimination of fees are having the intended effects of improving access for underserved and low income student populations.