Increased Interest from Prospective Students Leads to Record Applications
To Date, More Than 14,600 Undergraduate and 1,000 Graduate School Applications Received in 2021, Far Surpassing Totals for Previous Years
BALTIMORE — In the lead-up to the start of the 2021 Fall Semester, Morgan State University has received a record number of undergraduate, graduate school and housing applications from prospective students interested in enrolling at Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University and the state’s largest Historically Black College or University (HBCU). As of April, the university has received more than 14,600 undergraduate applications, an all-time high for Morgan and a 58.5% increase over the total number received in 2019, before the pandemic. In addition, the university has received more than 1,000 graduate school applications, an increase of 9.6% over the total received in 2019, and nearly 1,200 applications for housing thus far, an increase of 54.6% over 2019’s total. With four months remaining before the beginning of the Fall Semester, expectations are that these numbers will continue to rise.
The increased interest places Morgan in a strong position to regain momentum after a year that saw most of the university’s traditional operations disrupted, and a limited opportunity for growth, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have faced challenges during the pandemic and have seen some of our natural growth stifled as a result, however, what these record numbers of applications are revealing is that educational attainment is still very important to a great number of people and that there is a tremendous appetite to receive that education at Morgan,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan. “What we’ve put in place here at the university, in terms of programs and opportunities, is unique and attractive to both traditional and nontraditional students. We look forward to capitalizing on this monumental interest and building for the future.”
Morgan joins a number of select universities nationwide that are seeing growth in application submissions. According to national trend data, students are applying to more colleges this year, resulting in a 9% increase in the application per applicant ratio. Colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region have seen a 6.1% increase in applications on average. Across the nation, graduate programs are also seeing significant enrollment increases. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that enrollment in graduate programs increased by 4.3% this spring over the previous year.
Morgan administrators acknowledge that the number of application submissions received this year is unprecedented. The increases are being attributed to a conflux of factors, most notably the following:
- Nationally, more students are applying to more schools than ever;
- The high visibility of HBCUs right now, the Black Lives Matter movement, and a heightened national attention on diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Morgan’s emphasis on marketing and financial aid optimization;
- The availability of unique and/or highly sought-after programs at Morgan;
- The competitiveness of Morgan students on the national stage;
- Enhanced visibility for the university resulting from the publicity surrounding high-profile financial gifts such as those received from MacKenzie Scott, Calvin and Tina Tyler and NBCUniversal/Comcast, and from the Maryland General Assembly’s bill to settle the long-running lawsuit over equity for the state’s HBCUs;
- The University’s decision to make standardized testing optional for student applicants; and
- University Admissions’ efforts to make the application process as easy as possible during the pandemic by waiving application fees, implementing virtual campus tours and accepting unofficial transcripts.
“Although we were already seeing incremental increases in applications annually and anticipated some additional level of growth due to national trends, what we are seeing in actuality was somewhat unexpected, but this is a good problem to have,” said Kara Turner, Ph.D., vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success at Morgan. “More applications mean more opportunity to grow our enrollment. And although we do not expect the majority of these prospective students to enroll, as of today more than 1,500 new students have paid their enrollment deposit. Even though the May 1st National College Decision Day has passed, we are continuing to admit students and to welcome admitted students to pay their deposit and secure their spot at Morgan for the fall.”
Morgan has received more than 14,000 applications for what has traditionally been between 1,600 to 1,800 available spaces for a new entering class. So far, the university’s annual student enrollment has hovered near 8,000 during the past five years. With this fall’s incoming Class of 2025 (#MSU25) and new graduate school students, Morgan may see its largest growth in enrollment under President Wilson’s leadership.
Prior to the pandemic, Morgan housed up to 2,200 students in campus housing. If the rate of housing applications continues at the current pace, available inventory will soon be exhausted, so students are encouraged to complete their applications for housing at their earliest opportunity. In 2019, Morgan announced plans for the construction of a new apartment-style residence facility. Currently under construction, the project is expected to be completed in 2024.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering nearly 120 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.