November 04, 2019
The University of New England was featured in a case study about enrollment by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The case study, titled, “Maine’s Largest Private University Defies the Odds,” was part of a November 2019 special report from the Chronicle on the looming enrollment crisis among colleges and universities.
The case study describes how UNE is facing some of the most challenging demographics in higher education, with Maine having the nation’s oldest population and the state’s high school graduation rates continuing to fall. It points out that despite those challenges, the university welcomed one of its largest undergraduate classes in 2019. President James Herbert described his strategy of promoting UNE’s health profession programs, which have traditionally been its core strengths, while building on other market-aligned programs. “We had promoted ourselves as a health-sciences university,” Herbert said, “and I found that narrative to be far too limiting.”
The article goes on to describe how the university’s marine programs have expanded, with new offerings in marine affairs, marine entrepreneurship, and a professional science masters in Ocean Food Systems. It also discussed increased enrollment in neuroscience, animal behavior and business. Vice President for University Admissions Scott Steinberg explained how UNE’s online division has been another factor in the institution’s growth. “One of the reasons for UNE’s recruitment and overall success is our diversified enrollment portfolio,” he said.
President Herbert told the Chronicle that UNE’s spirit of nimbleness and message of distinctiveness will help UNE continue to attract students from a wider demographic area in the future. “I’m optimistic, and I think it’s likely to continue, but we’re not resting on our laurels.”