When the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) saw the University’s July enrollment report and noticed that far more students had decided to stay on campus than expected, they began working with Physical Plant to add housing, convert extra com¬mon spaces into bedrooms and remodel entire woodframes on Pine, Cross, Church, and High Streets. But even after opening up these new spaces, as the start of school year neared, there were still 24 students without a place to live.

Luckily, Physical Plant was able to convert two graduate student-housing units on Brainerd Ave. and one on Washington St., which the University had originally planned to sell, in time to house the extra students. Yet with 36 more students on campus this semester than were expected, ResLife is wondering what might have caused the spike—and if they need to pre¬pare for a similar situation in the future.

“Admissions brought in exactly the number of students they were supposed to bring in,” said Director of ResLife Fran Koerting. “But for some reason, the number of sophomores and juniors here right now is over 20 more than we had expected.”

While there were a number of students who planned on going abroad and decided at the last minute to return to Wesleyan in¬stead, the vast majority of the statistic is not so easily accounted for—quite simply, less students are taking leave this semester than expected.

The Registrar’s Office uses statistics about the number of students currently and previously on campus in order to predict how many will enroll in the future rather than transfer or take a leave of absence. According to Director of Institutional Research, the enrollment reports are usu-ally accurate within one percent. This year’s 36-student surplus is 1.3 percent off—un¬usual but not unheard of—and Whitcomb explained that it’s too soon to determine whether this semester’s high retention rate will continue.

“It really is sort of an unknown,” he said. “Until everything settles and until we can look at all the numbers, we don’t know what happened.”

The enrollment reports average data from the previous three years to predict the number of students on campus for the next semester, which means that the spike in retention will factor into the next projections but will not be the sole determinant.

“In the projections we try to respond to trends as they emerge without being re¬actionary,” Whitcomb said. “The three-year moving average methodology finds some of this balance.”

While the University waits for the data of the next few years to show whether this low attrition rate is a trend or a fluke, ResLife is trying to prepare for next year.

“It’s great—it means that students aren’t transferring elsewhere or taking leave as we had expected,” said Director of ResLife Fran Koerting. “But it means we have to open up more beds to be able to ac¬commodate them.”

While Whitcomb said that any guesses at what could have caused such high retention rates—22 more sophomores than expected and 24 more juniors, although slightly fewer seniors—would be pure speculation, Koerting said she thinks they will be analyzing the numbers throughout the coming year.

If the low attrition rates continue, ResLife will keep the converted units for undergraduates, but Koerting hopes to change the Brainerd Ave. units back into graduate housing and to put the Washington St. unit back on the sale list. ResLife evaluates the houses available for renovation annually, she said, in order to add any bedrooms they can to General Room Selection.

“The next step is trying to compare previous years,” she said. “We want to be able to determine better—is this just an anomaly or is this something we need to plan for next year as well?”

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