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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Report shows higher than expected retention rate

An annual University census determined that there are more full-time undergraduates at GW this year than the University projected. Due to the increase, the University has allocated $1 million dollars to be spent on academic spending.

The Office of Institutional Research, which compiles the annual census, projected a 3.5 percent decrease in undergraduate enrollments this year, reflecting a smaller admissions target and trends for continuing student enrollment over the past three years. Despite projection, more undergraduates are at GW this year, as of Oct. 26 when the census was completed. University administrators said the fixed tuition may attract more students to stay at GW and not transfer out.

Revenue gained from the increase in undergraduate enrollments will allow the $1 million in cuts from academics last year to be given back to the schools, University officials said. Officials announced last year that they were waiting for the census results to determine whether the money would be replaced.

The University is considering where the $1 million will be allocated by reviewing budget proposals from various University departments.

Peggye Cohen, the assistant vice president for Institutional Research, said projections for continuing undergraduate students are made by finding the weighted average of the percent of continuing students in the past three years, and then consulting with the deans whether the number is reasonable.

“You can’t predict the future. It’s all based on history,” Cohen said.

There are 77 more freshmen, 36 more transfer students and 111 more continuing full-time undergraduates than projected, according to the census.

“Our goal long-term is to have a high percentage returning each year,” said Louis Katz, executive vice president and treasurer earlier this month.

Katz said enrolling more students than projected is not an issue unless they are all concentrated in a certain school.

Beginning in fall 2004, a fixed tuition plan allowed students to pay the same price for their entire time at GW. Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said he thought fixed tuition may explain the higher retention rate because it allows students to plan better financially and not have to leave the school for financial reasons.

Undergraduate enrollments increased in all of the schools except for the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“We’re always glad to have more students as long as we can fit them in the classrooms and provide adequate service,” said Susan Phillips, the dean of the business school. There are 91 more full time undergraduate students in the business school than projected, according to the census.

“We’re seeing a little bit more interest maybe because of the building,” she said.

International student enrollment is up by 1.5 percent, the first increase in international student enrollment for the past few years. Knop said the decrease in enrollment since 2001 could be attributed to the Sept. 11 attacks. There was a 20 percent increase in international students in this year’s freshman class.

Off-campus enrollment, including the medical center, is up by 573 students, 16.5 percent. Enrollment on the Virginia campus is 6.8 percent below last fall’s enrollment at this point of time.

Graduate and doctoral student enrollments were both short of projections. Doctoral candidates are short of projections by 58 students.

Lehman said he thought the decrease in doctoral student enrollments may be due to the impact of the doctoral reviews two years ago that eliminated or consolidated certain doctoral programs.

The Foggy Bottom Association and the Foggy Bottom/West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission have accused the University of not complying with its 20,000 student enrollment cap for the Foggy Bottom campus. The census states on-campus enrollment, including the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, consists of 19,672 students.

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