Freshman enrollment up 6 percent over last year's at schools in UM system 'Baby boom echo' arrives as predicted

upward trend expected until 2005 or 2006

October 03, 1998|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Reflecting what its chancellor called "the baby boom echo," the University System of Maryland has reported a 6 percent increase in freshman enrollment at its schools this year, the largest increase in more than a decade.

Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg told the system's Board of Regents yesterday that the numbers show "that the baby boom echo has indeed begun to arrive on our campuses, much as we had predicted."

System administrators see this year's numbers as the beginning of a trend that will last at least until 2005 or 2006, as children of the baby-boom generation move through their college years, fueling enrollment growth at the 13 state-funded colleges, universities and research institutions under the system's control.

20 percent increase

Enrollment is expected to increase almost 20 percent from the current level.

Hoke L. Smith, president of Towson University, site of the regents' meeting, cautioned that state funding is needed to accommodate the higher numbers.

"It's easy to predict; you just have to look at the birthrates," he said. "People always talk about planning for the growth, but too often no one does anything about it until the students are here."

In percentage terms, Coppin State College's entering class grew the most, by 74, a 19 percent increase.

Towson University had the biggest numerical increase, growing by 119 freshmen, a 7 percent rise. It was followed closely by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which enrolled 108 more freshmen than it did last year, a 9 percent jump.

Overall enrollment -- including undergraduate and graduate students, full time and part time -- increased by 1.1 percent. The total of 106,774 is an all-time high for the system.

Coppin also had the biggest percentage increase overall, with 225 new students boosting enrollment by 6.4 percent. Towson, with 399 new students, and UMBC, with 259, grew by 2.6 percent.

Bowie State University's overall enrollment was down by 143 students, or 2.8 percent, despite an increase of 59, or 16 percent, in the freshman class.

Decrease at UMAB

The only other significant drop came at the University of &L Maryland, Baltimore, which has only graduate programs; 272 fewer students enrolled, a 4.6 percent decrease.

The University of Maryland, College Park grew by 0.7 percent with 214 additional students; 95 of those were in the freshman class, a 2 percent rise.

Among other schools in the system, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore enrolled 60 more freshmen than it did last year, a 9 percent increase; Frostburg State University's freshman class had 68 more students, an 8 percent increase; and Salisbury State University's freshman class was up by 52 students, a 6 percent rise.

The only decrease was in part-time undergraduates, whose numbers fell from 22,348 last year to 21,763 this year, continuing a trend. There has been a 20 percent decline in enrollment in that category since 1989, when the system enrolled more than 27,000.

Pub Date: 10/03/98

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