ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The University of Maine System's overall fall enrollment for 2016 is down 1.3 percent, but out-of-state student enrollment is up 7.8 percent — a good sign for the future.
The enrollment total for the UMaine System's Fall 2016 semester is 28,592 students — 17 percent of those students are from out of state, which is crucial for the future of Maine’s economy and universities. Maine’s graduating population is slowly decreasing, not because high school students aren’t getting their diplomas but because that population is shrinking. Officials say the state needs to bring students in from other states to offset those numbers.
The University of Maine has been leading in out-of-state students for a number of years.
"We see our growing out-of-state population as really a big piece of what we can contribute to Maine and the future,” UMaine President Susan Hunter said. “A way to strengthen the state, a way to strengthen its economic base and to actually add people to our communities that are educated and engaged and want to be here."
UMaine, located in Orono, has seen an increase in enrollment this year. Hunter feels students should be offered a diversity of courses and job opportunities that will keep graduates in Maine.
"We know that 15 to 20 percent of the out-of-state students that come here and get a degree stay in Maine for a job,” she said. “So if we grow that number, it adds to the workforce of the future".
Enrollment numbers are based on the first day of classes. A final report will be released mid-October.
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