COLLEGE PARK – A University of Maryland System Board of Regents panel predicted Thursday that enrollment would surge in the next 10 years as the baby boom generation’s children reach college age.
One solution under consideration is curtailing the number of out-of-state students enrolled in the system’s 11 degree-granting institutions. Another possibility is to make a substantial investment in new facilities at the institutions where the most growth is expected.
Enrollment is projected to increase by about 16,080 students, or 15 percent, between 1996 and 2005. There are about 106,000 students in the system now.
George L. Marx, the system’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, told the committee on finance that the state’s college- age population is projected to increase by 66,449, or 18 percent over the next 10 years. Two-thirds of the growth will be in the most populous regions of the state — Montgomery, Prince George’s, Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, and Baltimore City, Marx said.
Donald N. Langenberg, chancellor of the University of Maryland System, said, “This is very significant growth we’re looking at and we’ve got to begin serious long-range planning to handle the explosion in Maryland residents.”
As part of this planning, the system may slow the enrollment growth of students who are not Maryland residents, Marx said. Out-of-state students could be cut from 21 percent of system enrollment to 19 percent, he said.
“We realize it’s important to have diversity and out-of- state students provide that,” Marx said. “But Maryland residents are our first priority and we have to accommodate them first. We have an obligation to them.”
But Hoke L. Smith, president of Towson State University, said that the system should be careful about reducing the percentage of out-of-state students. Since out-of-state students pay higher tuition, their reduced numbers could shift a financial burden to in-state students.
According to Marx, Bowie State University, Coppin State College, Frostburg State University, Towson State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore will have the most growth.
To deal with rising enrollment, the schools will likely see construction projects, including residence halls, classroom buildings and physical plant improvements, during the next few years, Marx said.
Roger V. Bruszewski, vice president for administration and finance at Frostburg State University, said one reason the school’s enrollment is increasing is its rural location.
“People want to get out of urban areas so they’re coming here. Also, the university’s done a good job of selling itself,” Bruszewski said.
Frostburg State University has an enrollment of 5,427 and a projected enrollment of 6,403 by 2005, an 18 percent growth.
But the projections also show growth at schools in urban areas, such as Coppin State College in Baltimore, a historically black college where enrollment is projected to grow from 3,540 to 4,347, or about 23 percent, during the 10 years.
Both Langenberg and Gregory A. Davis, vice president for business and finance at Coppin State College, said more black students are graduating from high school and going on to attend college.
“We’re part of that wave,” Davis said.
Two others of the five institutions predicted to have the most significant enrollment increases, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, are historically black colleges. The full Board of Regents will take up the proposed enrollment projections at their next scheduled meeting, February 2 at the University Biotechnology Institute Medical Biotechnology Center in Baltimore, Langenberg said. The projections are produced annually and used by system institutions to estimate tuition and plan for improvement projects. -30-