CASTINE (AP) – Maine Maritime Academy is expecting to start the academic year with an all-time-high enrollment, including a record high number of female students.

Optimism over total enrollment has been buoyed by anticipation of a large freshman class.

Academy officials expect to start the year in September with 850 to 860 students.

“That would be the highest we’ve ever been,” President Leonard Tyler said Friday.

The freshman class could number 270 or more, up from 230 students who entered the college last year.

For the first time in its history, the school stopped accepting applications for the coming school year in May, according to Nicole St. Pierre, the student representative on the MMA board of trustees.

St. Pierre told the academy board Friday that deposits were up 45 percent for incoming female students; up 50 percent in the marine sciences program; and up 45 percent in the international business and logistics program.

“We anticipate we’ll have between 140 and 150 women students this year,” Tyler said. “That (would be) the highest number ever at Maine Maritime Academy.”

Tyler said most of the growth at the school is taking place in the international business and logistics, small vessel operations and marine sciences programs. Most of the applications from women, he said are for the IBL and marine sciences programs.

Enrollment in the traditional programs at the college has remained fairly steady, Tyler said.

“We’re seeing more and more women coming to MMA,” Tyler said. “With the student-age population declining, it’s important that we get more women students here.”

Maine Maritime has increased recruiting efforts, with the school’s admissions office visiting more college fairs, more high schools and conducting more open houses on campus.

Tyler said the academy is renovating a residence hall that will provide 20 to 30 new beds, and is considering developing nearby off-campus housing in the near future that would add about 150 student beds.

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