Northeastern Caught in Housing Pinch
Aug. 10, 2000
BOSTON (AP) _ Northeastern University is scrambling to find housing and additional teachers for 600 extra freshmen unintentionally admitted after a computer glitch.
The freshman class was supposed to be 2,800 this fall, but because attempts to rectify problems with a new computer system, more than 3,400 are now expected to enroll, school officials said Wednesday.
``It gives us a short-term management issue,'' President Richard Freeland said.
Some freshmen will have to take on extra roommates, some will commute from home and some will be forced to hunt for apartments in an already tight rental market. Classrooms will be more crowded and department heads will have to work longer hours to hire and train instructors.
``This is going to affect everything _ the use of dining facilities, health center facilities, the workload for financial aid advisers,'' said senior Kerryann Driscoll, student government association president. ``Upperclassmen may not get the classes they want and may have to sit in crowded classes, while freshmen are going to have to live in triples instead of doubles.''
The journalism department expected 55 to 60 students in this year's freshman class, but instead will deal with 90 to 100. Last year, the art and architecture department had 83 freshman. This year, it expects 151. Communication studies, which had planned for 65 freshmen, faces 154.
The problem started when the admissions office's new computer system lost the names of hundreds of students interested in the university.
The loss of those prospects, professors say, prompted the administration to ask faculty members to call and encourage students who had been accepted at Northeastern to attend. Schools always accept more students than they expect to enroll, because many applicants apply to more than one school. But with the special phone calls going out to prospective students, a higher-than-usual percentage of accepted applicants decided to enroll, officials said.
``We certainly did things to make ourselves more attractive this year,'' said James Stellar, dean of the college of arts and sciences. ``That mission may have conflicted with proper enrollment management.''