Squeezing in more freshmen

Squeezing in more freshmen

In this article, Karen Nilsson tells The Tech that the Class of 2014 will have about 1,300 students, which would represent an increase of 222 over the Class of 2013’s size of 1078 freshmen, according to Registrar statistics. That increase is about four times as large as was projected earlier this year.

In February, Provost L. Rafael Reif said at a faculty meeting that MIT intended to increase class sizes modestly, by about 50, from about 4,238 to 4,288, for the 2010–2011 academic year. A similar tactic was proposed by the Institute-Wide Planning Task Force, MIT’s budget cut committee, to increase tuition revenue without spending much more on infrastructure for the extra students.

Increasing the undergraduate student body size has been a long-held goal of President Susan J. Hockfield, but one that has been hard to achieve because MIT hasn’t raised the money to fund the renovation of a dorm to house the extra students.

That goal seemed to be sidetracked in February, when Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75 said in a letter “Undergraduate enrollment will not be increased until additional housing is available (specifically W1) and we have assessed and addressed other issues related to the likely impacts of an increase in the size of the undergraduate student body.”

Asked in February about the discrepancy between a “modest” increase in class size and his commitment not to increase the student body until additional housing became available, Clay said that the two points are not at odds and that enrollment varies year-to-year based on the expected number of available beds.

Michael McGraw-Herdeg