U of C’s incoming freshman class largest in ‘modern history’ – Education News

on Oct14

13 October 2017 | 10:30 am

The University of Chicago confirmed that its entering college class is a record-buster, which triggered a scramble for dorm space.

First-year students number 1,735, nine percent more than the 1,591 on campus after three weeks last fall and 300 more than the 1,426 in 2013.

The surge was caused by a higher than expected jump in acceptances of admission offers. The “yield” was a record 72 percent, compared with 64 percent of admittees choosing to enroll a year ago and just 30 percent in 2013.

The university leased 45 apartments in Hyde Park for students and staff at the recently developed Vue53, where initial rents ranged from $1,400 per month for a studio to $2,630 for two bedrooms.

The move was forced even after a residential facility for about 800 undergrads was opened last year. Meanwhile, the university is looking at building another residence hall.

After more than doubling between 2008 and 2012, once the school allowed use of the Common Application, applications fell this year to 27,694 from last year’s 31,411. The university admitted 8.7 percent, up from a record low 7.9 percent last year.

There are now more than 6,000 undergraduates at the U of C after President Robert Zimmer said four years ago that there was “no systematic plan” to increase enrollment by more than 100 or 200 above what was then 5,500-some.

Addressing a question about Dean of the College John Boyer’s interest in expanding the size of his domain, Zimmer said, “In order for us to even think about that we would have to have a very different posture in terms of our housing, and we’d have to expand our faculty, because otherwise we’re degrading either the quality of student life or the quality of education and our intent is to improve both, not degrade both.”

Gregory Mantell, a 1993 alum and an independent film producer in Los Angeles, wonders how big is too big, but adds: “My understanding is the university has been hiring more junior faculty to teach core classes, so I am not too worried about undergrads suddenly getting stuffed into massive lecture halls. As long as the university keeps individual class size down, I don’t mind an overall increase in size of the college.”



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