WATERVILLE — The number of applications for admission to Colby College increased by 47 percent this year, following a push by the school’s new president to recruit more students and a decision by the board of trustees to budget more money for financial aid.

A total of 7,591 applications were recently submitted for Colby’s Class of 2019, which represents a 47 percent increase over last year’s 5,148, according to the office of admissions.

“I think it’s a great thing for the college and the city of Waterville on a couple of levels,” said Steve Saunders, interim vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “It’s one thing Colby can do to raise the profile of the school, and that of course brings more visitors to campus. Over time, as we add to the applicant pool, it will add people to the mix in Waterville and make Waterville a more interesting place to be.”

In July, the school’s president, David A. Greene, said that one of his top goals as he took office was to increase the number of applications to the school. Four new admissions counselors were hired this year, adding to the office of admissions staff of 10 admissions counselors, which allowed the school to visit more students and community organizations around the country, Saunders said.

“We did much more travel in the south, we spent a lot more time in Texas and had more people in California,” Saunders said. From those regions — the west, south and midwest — applications were up by about 70 percent.

Applications from first generation college students — those who would be the first in their family to attend college — were up 53 percent.

Another reason for the increase stems from an additional $1.2 million in financial aid budgeted by the college’s board of trustees this year, Saunders said.

The increase in applications is expected to lower Colby’s acceptance rate, which last year was 28 percent.

“Any time you get more students to apply, in general, the acceptance rate will go lower,” he said.

It is still early to say whether college applications across the country are on par with last year’s numbers, Saunders said. “Institutions are just now starting to release figures. It’s a little early to see the bigger trends, but from what I’ve seen so far, some schools are up and some are down,” he said.

In Maine, the University of Maine flagship school in Orono reported a 10 percent increase in applications this year. The university got 11,549 applications compared to 10,535 last year, said Margaret Nagle, senior director of public relations and operations.

A spokesman for Bates College said application numbers are not ready to be released yet. Bowdoin College did not respond to a request for comment.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm