More Students are Food For a Growing School

While the start of the new academic year signified many changes on campus, perhaps the most evident and noteworthy was the increased size of the student body. The increase in studentbody came with a drastic increase in applications with 13,014 applications for just over 2,000 openings.

In the year 2000, UVM was only faced with 7,500 applications. Of the 13,000, that applied UVM accepted 10,434 individuals. The 20 percent increase in enrolled first-year students signified a record-breaking class of 2009 with 2,350 freshman -lifting UVM’s total population to just over 11,000.

UVM is not alone in this increase; interestingly enough, several other local schools are experiencing a similar phenomenal growth. Both Saint Michael’s and Champlain College have experienced similar increases in applications and enrollments.

UVM has been frequently categorized as a mid to smaller sized university in a small town, however record enrollment has forced several adjustments in housing facilities and course offerings as well.

While UVM officials and planners suggest that they have been anticipating growth, they admit it will take some time to fully accommodate the student body.

One senior commented, “This is not the same school I came to -if I wanted a larger school with overcrowding and construction that I wouldn’t benefit from, I could have gone to other places.” While the atmosphere of UVM has certainly changed, the growth and changes have brought other factors to attention such as the potentially increasing cost of tuition.

It is difficult to adequately profile the incoming class but UVM has claimed that this current incoming class is the most competitive and talented yet. UVM recently released statistics profiling the new class with just over a third of the incoming students having taken advanced placement (AP) courses. Despite a seemingly impressive incoming class, the average SAT score of newly enrolled students is 1166 -a score that has not increased by nearly as much as the student population has.

An issue that is very related to the increase in UVM’s size is the amount of state allocated funds because UVM is considered a public state school. The state of Vermont in the past has appropriated 20.2 percent to UVM’s total budget, but in the past 25 years this amount has drastically decreased to 8.7 percent as of 2005. State grants and funding depend on several factors, and the university intends to maintain financial aid awards to its students, as well as maintaining the “need blind admission” policy. While in-state students tend to receive more financial aid, approximately 50 percent of the entire UVM student population is receiving some form of aid.

Another issue the growth in student population has raised is the percentage minorities attending UVM. Of the approximately 11,000 total students, 6 percent are minorities, which is double the percentage from past years. Regardless, UVM is still considered a relatively homogeneous school.

The recent growth is not with out explanation -many students who come to Vermont from other north eastern states and the general New England area are interested in the outdoor ambience and activities.

Another senior, an environmental science major commented that, “This growth is too much, science and lab classes that started off with twenty people now have forty or fifty- it is not easy to get in and it is not easy to be in.” One question to be truly considered is whether growth is what is wanted and needed on this campus.

UVM students, particularly the upperclassmen are understandably showing resentment towards the new UVM. The growth and student body expansion is not expected to cease soon; the President and the administration are continuing active recruitment of larger classes.