Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Kelsey Donk, Web Editor
On May 14, as eighth week was just beginning at Kalamazoo College, faculty and staff received an email from President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran notifying them that first-year enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is lower than expected. Enrollment for the coming school year falls short of the school’s “budgeted target number 375 students,” the President wrote.
According to Dean of Admissions Eric Staab, the 2012-2013 enrollment total is 25 students less than the college’s original goal, with 350 first-year students committed to Kalamazoo College for the upcoming school year.
While this shortage might seem like a cause for concern, Staab said the number of enrolled students is not final. “I expect this number to shift over the summer,” Staab said, “We always have cases of late, late applicants.” According to Staab, about one-third of applicants don’t respond to admission offers, and some decide to switch schools during the summer.
In her email to faculty and staff, Wilson-Oyelaran said she looked forward to sending another update in “late May when registration for returning students is completed and the deadline for more recent offers of admission has passed.” While the enrollment numbers may increase with late decisions, it is also possible that they could fall. “I won’t sugarcoat this,” Staab said, “We might get a few more deposits, but we’re more likely to drop.”
The reality of an enrollment shortage poses concerns for the Kalamazoo College’s finances. To roughly illustrate an estimate of the loss our college could face, according to the Kalamazoo College Admissions website, annual tuition, room, and board this year totals at $43,899. Because the enrollment goal was not met, not including the tuition raise next year, the college will miss out on about 25 sets of that value, or $1,097,475.
It is important to note, however, that Admissions was shooting for a higher class size for the 2012-2013 year. “In our history of class size, we may have shot for this number,” Staab said, “This is not a significant drop.” In the fall of 2011, the first-year class had 371 students. Next year’s class of 350 first-years is 94% the size of the this year’s class.
The President noted in her email that the fiscal consequences would include trimming the 2013 budget, but also reassured staff and faculty that, “currently the options do not involve the elimination of current staff or programs.” According to Wilson-Oyelaran, the good news, “is that the 2013 budget has a contingency line that was established for just this purpose, and it will absorb a significant portion of the loss in revenue.”
“We’re short, but we’re not at a critically short level,” Staab said, “We’re not in a dire financial situation,” Staab said. According to Staab, “market perception” of the college’s cost may have shifted this year and led to the shortage in enrollment.