One Year After Path Forward Announcement Unity College Doubles Enrollment
July 19, 2021
College Hires 100 and Looks to Fill 40 More Positions to Meet Growing Demand
Unity College President and CEO Dr. Melik Khoury announced another term of record enrollment as America’s Environmental College continues evolving in an effort to better meet student’s needs. This comes at a time when many small colleges are seeing massive enrollment declines.
Last August, Unity College announced plans to adopt a new model, which included moving to eight terms per year instead of the typical two semester model. During each of those terms the college has seen sustained growth in the Distance Education program, which has offset much of the decline in residential programming.
As of the college’s latest census count, the full-time equivalent student population now stands at more than 1,800 students, which is up from 868 during the 2019-2020 academic year. The college has also announced it will be keeping tuition flat through the ‘21-22 fiscal year.
“Student demographics are changing. More than 60 small liberal arts institutions have closed since 2016. Every year, we see fewer and fewer students looking for a traditional 4-year residential college experience. We knew we had to think outside the box about making necessary changes to ensure the institution’s long-term success,” said Dr. Khoury.
In order to meet students where they are, the college is now offering a rich variety of educational experiences including high, low, and no residency programs.
“We are not forgetting our roots. If students want to come to beautiful Unity, Maine to learn in-person in our state-of-the-art labs and outdoor facilities they can do that. If they want to spend a couple of terms online and come for in-person learning for a couple of terms, they can do that. If a student wants to take all of their classes through our innovative online courses, they can do that too. We are truly meeting students where their needs are,” said Dr. Khoury.
These innovative changes have provided Unity College students a level of flexibility and affordability unlike ever before. The amount of alternative student loans students are taking out has dropped significantly – from $3.5 million in 19-20 down to $1 million in 20-21.
“Notable trends are emerging as a result of the changes we have enacted to improve the accessibility of our programs. Illustrative of this point, our self-identified diverse student population now stands at 18% after a 50-year average of 8%. The institution’s average student age has also increased from 19 to 27, as more non-traditional learners realize the flexibility of our programs,” said Dr. Erika Latty, President of the Unity College Enterprise. “This is about educational equity and furthering our mission for years to come.”
In the spring, Unity College also announced the creation of the Technical Institute for Environmental Professions in New Gloucester, Maine. With plans to open during the ’21-’22 school year, the institute will focus on a mix of in-person and synchronous learning to offer associate degrees and certificates. It will allow students to accelerate their future and make an immediate impact in their chosen career field. This will also mean more jobs coming to Maine as Unity College looks to fill dozens of positions at the Technical Institute as well as other areas of the college in the coming months.