New students, many hailing from across the globe, have Wesleyan administrators adding classes and reopening unused residential living spaces as the school adapts to the sudden increase in enrollment.
At time of publishing, a total of 143 international students were enrolled at Wesleyan compared to a total of 48 who were enrolled last year, according to the admissions office. This figure, which includes undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and law students, remains tentative until Sept. 7 as more students arrive and others drop classes. The total amount of undergrads enrolled rose from 491 to 581 students.
The influx caused Wesleyan officials to schedule emergency meetings before the semester began to add general education curriculum courses while increasing the maximum amount of students allowed in existing classes. Three additional Academic Success Experience courses, aimed at helping first-time
college students adjust to university rigors, were also added.
“These are great problems to be dealing with when our budget was based on last year’s enrollment,” said Joe Brown, dean of freshman success and professor of theatre arts and mass communication, in a department email.
Although more students means more money, Sherri Caraballo, institutional research director, said it’s difficult to determine the amount of funds a group of students brings to the university as each student has different financial circumstances. Tuition and fees for one regular full-time student total $10, 420.
The amount a student is charged for three tuition hours could vary drastically between two students, Caraballo said.
As students and funds pour in due to Wesleyan’s enrollment increase, so does the school’s need for student resources.
Sharon Manson, director of residence life, said her department realized during late July it would need more beds due to the looming increase in students Residence Life used $7,940 from the housing budget to purchase 20 new mattresses and frames over the summer.
Members of Residence Life contemplated doubling the occupancy in rooms in Elizabeth Armstrong Hall and tripling the occupancy in Stella Russell Hall when the decision was made to reopen rooms in OC Armstrong Hall, Manson said. The rooms were previously occupied by inactive student organizations or were used as storage, she said.
“Our goal is to not house students in OC,” Manson said in an email. “They might miss out on the traditional college experience being somewhat isolated from the other students in residence halls.”
As rooms become available, Manson said Residence Life hopes to filter the international students to Stella, Elizabeth and West Village. If rooms do not become available, housing will hire a residential assistant to serve as a resource to the students in OC Armstrong.
While housing makes moves to help the students have a place to settle in, the International Programs Office prepares to help the international students with anything else they may need. The department helps students open bank accounts, eases the difficulty of adapting to a different culture and helps them locate everything from cell phone chargers to the students’ native foods.
“Most of these students don’t have family [here],” said Timothy Reece, International Programs assistant. “They’re still in the process of making friends and such. Until then, we’re helping them meet their academic and personal needs.”
Look for our print issue on newsstands Sept. 12 for an in-depth look at the student increase and the story behind some of the new international faces.