Morgan State enrollment reaches record high of 9,100 students

Morgan State University students walk across campus. The university’s current student enrollment of more than 9,100 represents an 18% increase from pre-pandemic enrollment in the fall of 2018. (Photo courtesy of Morgan State University)

Morgan State University continued its growth pattern with its second straight year of historic enrollment and announced that Maryland’s largest historically black college or university surpassed 9,100 students for the fall 2022 semester.

The increase represents growth of 7.5% over Morgan’s total student enrollment for the 2021-22 academic year and puts the university on an accelerated course to meet its goal of 10,000 students early enrollment. The increased interest in Morgan comes at an opportune time as the campus is undergoing a physical transformation supported by nearly $1 billion in equity investments and newly acquired real estate.

For more than a decade, student enrollment at the university has grown steadily, peaking in consecutive years with record-breaking highs of 8,469 in 2021 and 9,101 in 2022. After the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when enrollments in the While higher education declined statewide, Morgan’s enrollment spike was among the largest percentages of growth among four-year institutions in Maryland. The university’s current student enrollment represents an 18% increase from the pre-pandemic enrollment of fall 2018.

In 2022, the university unveiled a new 10-year strategic plan. As part of the plan’s first goal of improving student success and well-being, a goal was set to increase enrollment to 10,000 students by fall 2030. The past two years have seen Morgan achieve that goal sooner than expected.

University officials point to an important element of the increase in enrollment: a significant increase in transfer and out-of-state students choosing Morgan to pursue their post-secondary education. Of the new students enrolled at Morgan for the current school year, 56% are from outside of Maryland – the largest out-of-state student population in school history.

Four-year college and university enrollment is expected to continue its recent decline, falling another 1.6% year-on-year in the fall of 2022, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Morgan, on the other hand, has emerged as an outlier, solidifying successive gains in enrollment, in addition to maintaining a retention rate of 70% or more for 12 straight years. University officials attribute the steady gains to a variety of factors, including a mix of operational strategies coupled with the rising interest in HBCUs that continues to grip the nation.

The university took a multi-faceted approach, utilizing the resources of multiple administrative units. Morgan’s Office of Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment expanded its reach by engaging more prospective students through increased direct marketing and recruitment activities – in person, online and in more markets.

The Office of Financial Aid has partnered with the Office of Development and the Morgan State University Foundation to support incoming freshmen by streamlining financial aid through competitive aid packages and wise allocation of institutional aid.

Other factors that benefited Morgan and several other HBCUs included the pervasive social and cultural awakening sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement, and public actions by organizations and donors to address systemic inequalities address between the generations. As a result, black students across the country seeking post-secondary options subsequently applied to college at institutions such as Morgan.

Meeting the needs of a growing student population has impacted almost every aspect of running a university. Morgan has proactively made significant capital investments in facilities, including the construction of new academic buildings, the Health and Human Services Building and the new Science Complex — and aggressively addressed deferred maintenance of infrastructure and legacy buildings on campus.

This fall, Morgan opened Thurgood Marshall Residence Hall, a 10-story, 229,797-square-foot residential and learning facility on Morgan’s campus, the first in more than 30 years. Following recent approval by Morgan’s Board of Regents, the university will construct a second new residence, a 604-bed facility adjacent to the Thurgood Marshall residence complex and connected to the 30,000-square-foot ground-level dining facility. This facility is scheduled to open in 2024.