Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Where Are the Freshmen?

Housing struggles continue as a Furman continues to expand its student population.

The Freshman Dormroom

There’s something distinctly different about the student body at Furman this year. Maybe you’ve noticed fewer cars in the parking lots, a little less traffic on the way to class, the occasional unoccupied elliptical in the PAC. Maybe you’ve even found yourself pondering the pleasantly shorter lines in the DH (well, let’s not get too carried away).

Regardless of what you have or haven’t noticed, there has been a significant change involving the number of students in this year’s incoming freshman class: to be specific, about 91 fewer students than the previous year.

Before last year, the number of students enrolled in the Class of 2016 would be nothing out of the ordinary. The 717 new students making up the Class of 2014 is almost identical to this year’s 725 new students. However, the disparity lies in last year’s Class of 2015, when the amount of new students increased to 817.

The 10% increase in class size last year represented Furman’s plans for expansion of the student body; an expansion that, according to Admissions’ Associate Vice President Brad Pochard, was supposed to continue with the incoming Class of 2016.

Pochard states that, although this year brought about a great increase in the application rate, “the number that have said yes to us is a problem.”

Although a number of factors may lie behind this general decline in affirmatives Pochard affirms that a big contributor lies in “the shock waves sent through the higher education community” after the financial crisis of 2008.

It is no secret that Furman’s tuition isn’t pocket change. This conjecture leads to the possible conclusion that a decrease in financial assistance may account for the fewer students in the incoming class.

Forrest Stuart, Director of Financial Aid, explains that, although the overall financial assistance offered was reduced from last year to this year, the process of financial aid is truly a balancing act.

“The more financial aid we give out, the higher tuition has to go to fund that,” said Stuart. This creates a delicate balance between allotting too little versus giving out too much.

Despite this, Stuart admits that the financial assistance provided for incoming students possibly decreased too steeply this year and must be altered to find a more steady balance in the coming years.

So what do the next few years hold for the incoming students at Furman? In all likelihood, students should expect similar class sizes to the ones they are currently in. Furman has the space, beds and staff to expand, but plans to do so at a slower speed than originally anticipated.

Stuart explains that this reasoning allows the university to better cater to the needs of the current students. However, Furman still plans to expand and eventually reach the slightly larger size envisioned by the university.

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