University reaching student capacity


This year, UVM is packed to the rafters. The incoming first year class of 2, 475 students is the second largest in the entire history of the university. 


Total enrollment at UVM — including medical, post-baccalaureate and non-degree students — is a record 13,500, according to a UVM Communications press release.


For UVM and students, this is great news. We’ll now have an even more diverse community. Ten percent of the incoming class are ALANA students, and due to the US-Sino Pathway Program, 29 students from China are going to attend UVM this year in an effort to increase overall international attendance. 


More students and their varying interests mean more opportunities for growth. It doesn’t hurt that we’ll have a group of smart incoming first years. Their SAT scores in critical reading and math average at 1182, another UVM record. Many were in the top ten percent of their class. 


Since 76 percent of the class will be out of state, there will be more funding to help the school grow after its struggle during the recession.


This increase in student numbers will be beneficial in so many ways, but as usual, there is another side to the story. 


More students also mean that more housing is needed. However, there is limited space on campus. The time will come, if UVM continues to grow at this rate, when not all students who want to live on campus will be able.  


There will also need to be enough classes to support the growing number of students.  Our university has always boasted about its ability to be a large school with a small school, small class feel.  Hopefully — with all the new students — they can continue to deliver on that claim.


UVM students have had enough problems with registering for classes in the past years, and the increase in students without a revision of the registration process does not bode well. 


Honestly, these fears — classic fears every college student has — might not come to bear. However, if this rapid growth becomes a trend, there is a significant risk of deterioration. Each year, classes get a bit bigger and housing gets a bit more crowded as all students living in triples know well. 


At what point does it stop? A trash bag can hold only so many packing peanuts. It can bend and stretch to fit them all in for a while, but at a certain point it will rip open.


There are benefits that come from having a larger student body, but eventually UVM’s expansion will need to stop because of the costs faced by students.