Enrollment has gone down at UMD in the past decade. According to UMD’s institutional research website, student enrollment steadily declined from 10,735 students in 2013 to 9,907 in 2016. However, in the last two years, student entries at UMD has increased. This year, it is expected that first year class turnout will be about 2,250, a five percent increase since last year.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management & Institutional Research, Mary Keenan, said that a higher growth in on-campus tours by the Office of Admissions might have something to do with the increasing enrollment.
“We have more people visiting campus as far as prospective students and their parents. Last year Admissions hosted about 16,000 visitors, which is a lot for our size campus,” Keenan said. “I think overall UMD has refined our messaging to prospective students by really targeting the UMD story.”
Keenan also believes that the university’s reputation has grown.
“Reputation is really critical,” Keenan said. “A lot of students and families hear about an institution through their neighbors or relatives that have attended, so I think that the overall word of mouth reputation is strong, and I think that makes a difference.”
UMD junior Jake Johnson said that it helps that UMD has made many improvements.
“We do have good class selection here,” Johnson said. “And it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other campuses, like the Twin Cities campus.”
According to the UMN website, the yearly tuition and fees for an in-state student at the Twin Cities campus is $14,225. UMD’s is almost $1,000 less at $13,344 per academic year.
Assistant Director of Career & Internship Services, Janet Pribyl, said that the job placement rate after graduation from UMD has been consistent at 97 percent over the past three years. She added that an increase in reputation might help the enrollment as well.
“We have some fantastic programs and faculty,” Pribyl said. “I think there’s more of a sense of pride and belonging at UMD. It’s a great place to come to.”
The retention rate at UMD increased from 76 percent in 2014 to 78.4 percent in 2015. Keenan said that the quality of the time spent at UMD is an important factor for students to stay.
“We have seen an increase in our first to second year retention rate, which is a measure of the quality of the experience that students have when they’re here,” Keenan said. “I think that provides a momentum for an institution to be successful with their enrollment.”
Official 2017 enrollment data will be available on the university’s Institutional Research website on Sept. 12.