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Students at the University of Mary walk past the Gift Hill Cross as the first day of classes of the fall semester began on Sept. 5, 2018.

For the second consecutive year, the University of Mary will start a waitlist for incoming students.

Anticipating record enrollment last school year, university officials started a waitlist to ensure the school could keep up with demand, according to Richard "Chip" Hinton, director of undergraduate admissions.

This past fall, the university had a record-setting freshman class of 530 students at its main Bismarck campus. And, this upcoming school year, the university is expecting that number to continue growing, Hinton said.

"It’s quite impressive, to be honest with you, because we’re this little school up in North Dakota ... and yet there seems to be this demand for what we bring," Hinton said.

In recent years, the university has seen an influx of out-of-state students, including from 47 states and 42 countries. Forty percent of U-Mary students are from North Dakota.

Hinton said they've seen growth in their nursing and engineering programs. He said the university is an attractive option for nursing students, because these students can complete their senior year for free. Also, the university is investing in the new School of Engineering to accommodate growth in that program.

Hinton also pointed to the university's year-round campus as another draw for students. Under the program, students can complete their bachelor's degrees in 2.6 years, which saves them money, he said.

Hinton said while having a waitlist is a good problem for U-Mary to have, university officials continue to monitor student growth to ensure they have adequate facilities and space for the inflow of students.

"As the director of admissions, I hope that we have space to accommodate the demand that we have now … but I think the demand, by the way, is swelling," he said.

U-Mary will start its waitlist on May 1. The school is also encouraging students to apply before the financial aid deadline of March 15.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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Education and Health Reporter