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Retention Rates, Transfer Student Enrollment at Frostburg State University on the Rise

February 29th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

While many colleges and universities across the nation are experiencing decreases in student enrollment, at Frostburg State University, enrollment among transfer students is on the rise with an 11.2 percent increase in transfer students from spring 2023 to spring 2024. Additionally, FSU boasts an 89.2 percent retention rate in first-time undergraduate students from fall 2023 to spring 2024.

“We attribute the uptick in transfer enrollment to strong collaborations with our partner community colleges and our new nursing programs,” said Natalie Wagoner, director of Admissions at FSU. Dr. Candace Caraco, associate vice chancellor for Academic Programs, Academic and Enrollment Services and Articulation, provided an update on the transfer landscape in Maryland at a recent USM Board of Regents meeting: “68 percent of students who transfer from a Maryland community college to a USM university complete their bachelor’s degree within six years, which compares very favorably to the 42 percent six-year graduation rate for transfer students nationwide.”

FSU offers students the option of choosing from more than 50 majors and more than 30 specializations. One of the programs seeing big gains this spring was the new online Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which allows students flexibility completing their studies. The online LPN to BSN program has 47 students enrolled for spring 2024. FSU continues to see growth in underrepresented minorities (URM) enrollment, reaching spring 2020 numbers. “This post-COVID enrollment increase in URM students is underscored by many changes to make college accessible,” said Wagoner.

Other new offerings this fall included an innovative joint Master in Environmental Management in Sustainability in partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES) to leverage the environmental studies expertise of UMCES and FSU’s diverse student body to prepare leaders who can address 21st-century sustainability challenges and an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program to replace the environmental science concentrations previously offered within the Biology and Earth Sciences majors.

FSU is also offering a new Post-Master’s Certificate in Advanced School Counseling designed for professionals working in school districts and social service agencies, and this year FSU began offering a dual certification in Elementary/Special Education utilizing a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Rural Educators for Appalachian Children (REACH). At FSU, students receive a valuable educational experience with low tuition costs and strong financial aid packages from a reputable institution that doesn’t leave students saddled with debt after graduation. In fact, graduates, on average, have a median starting salary of $57,900, which is just one of the reasons that FSU provides students with everything they need to get where they’re going.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on X @frostburgstate. FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-3035 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.