NOT SO FAST: University Slows Growth

Enrollment at college and universities grew nearly four times as fast last decade compared to the previous decade, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Drake University offers an exception. The freshman class grew by just 40 to 859 this Fall. Tom Delahunt, Drakes’ Vice President for Admission and Student Financial Planning, said, “Frankly, for us, we’re not trying to grow. One of the unique things about Drake is its size…one of the things that makes us different. So we’re trying to be between 840 and 880, somewhere in there.”

Limiting growth means Drake doesn’t have to deal with crowding issues other universities have. Iowa State had to convert commons areas into temporary dorms to accommodate the additional students.

Freshman enrollment, Delahunt said, stands at 859 at Drake as students began moving into freshman dorms Wednesday. Among them is Abigail Ochevsky, of Wisconsin. She didn’t have to worry about not having a room. And teams of volunteers helped her on move-in day with another worry: they unloaded her father’s rented van and carried up her possessions into her new dorm room. Ochevsky said, “I thought it was really nice, because my brother went to Wisconsin-Madison. Nobody was there to help them. We had to do it all.”

For returning students, it’s a tradition to help the new students get settled. Kristian Acosta, of Chicago, said, “It’s different being in college. Make sure they adjust to it really quick and have a great time here.”

Eric Minturn, of Wisconsin, added, “It’s a big hep having all these people out here, helping you out, making sure everything goes right.”

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