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USM-H reports enrollment increase

November 22, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Enrollment at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown increased 4.4 percent this fall over last fall, according to official numbers released last week by the University System of Maryland.

The figures show a fall semester head count of 475 students, up by 20 from last fall's 455, USM-H spokeswoman Amanda Johnston said.

Enrollment growth has been steady at USM-H since it opened in January 2005, with increases of between 4 percent and 5 percent each term, Executive Director C. David Warner said. Overall, enrollment has increased 24.3 percent since USM-H opened.

"I'm very pleased," Warner said of this fall's numbers. "In spite of all that has been going on with starting a new entity like this, we just continue to put one foot in front of the other, and we keep growing each semester."

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Warner said the enrollment increase this fall might be related to the state of the economy.

"I think historically, as the economy gets bad, student enrollment goes up, so I think we're seeing a little bit of that, probably," he said.

The full-time equivalency number, which weights students based on the number of credits they are taking, is 124.2 for the current semester, Johnston said. That is an increase of 7.8 percent over last fall, she said.

The increase in full-time equivalency reflects more students taking more credits, Warner said. USM-H's nursing and master of the arts in teaching programs, which both are full-time daytime programs, contributed to that shift, he said.

The enrollment outlook for the spring semester also is promising, Warner said. In January, USM-H will begin its doctorate in education and bachelor's in psychology programs, he said. It also will admit a new class of students to the nursing program, which in previous years only has admitted students to start in the fall.

USM-H currently offers 21 programs from five institutions within the University System of Maryland, Johnston said.

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