After watching enrollment numbers increase in the last several years, Temple University has decided to halt growth due to the housing crunch and an unwillingness to water down the student population.
According to early estimates released by the Office of Admissions, the numbers for entering freshman and transfer students for the Fall 2001 semester will remain about the same as last fall.
“We’ve sort of peaked and will purposely admit fewer freshman. We’ve reached a nice high plateau that we’re happy with,” said Office of Admissions Director Timm Rinehart. “We want there to be dorm space and we want to keep the quality [of education] going in the right direction.”
Rinehart expects freshman applicants to rise again this year, from 13,995 to 14,600, but will see 3,100 freshman actually enrolled, down from last year’s 3,250 entering freshman.
With 75 percent of the transfer applications already in, Rinehart expects to receive 10 percent more applications this year as well as enrolling the same percentage of new transfers. He expects to see a jump from 2,200 new transfers to 2,400 next fall.
Overall, Rinehart expects the total number of entering students to stay close to last year’s total of 5,561.
These numbers are only estimated and will not be official until all of the new students are accounted for in October.
These numbers are a far cry from 1998 when Temple experienced a 10-year low in total newly registered students. That year the number was 4,239; the university has experienced a 76 percent increase in two years.
“This is a better Temple. We’re not selling the same product we were selling five or 10 years ago,” said Rinehart. “We’re more student friendly; we’ve cut the red tape. Cities are hot; the city is the reason they come to Temple. We’re taking advantage of our city location, selling the city as part of Temple’s value.”
This overall improvement has allowed the university to be more selective in what type of student it takes. In the last five years, the average SAT score of new students has risen 50 points, jumping from a 986 to a 1036. Temple has also been more aggressive in suggesting prospective students to take advantage of agreements it shares with area community colleges before applying.
An example of one of these agreements is the core-to-core, in which students can earn an Associate degree and transfer to Temple with their core requirements already met. According to Rinehart, about 30 percent of denied applicants go to a community college and later transfer to Temple.
Rinehart said that Temple is essentially denying students it used to take in the past.
“We’re not trying to become a Penn or Harvard. The idea is not to be elitist,” said Rinehart. “Our mission is still access. But we are no longer admitting students who we do not think can be successful here. It’s for the students own good.”
Limited housing has also played a part in this year’s final enrollment number. The number of students that have chosen to live on campus has doubled in the past six years, up from 2,000 to 4,000 residents.
Rinehart said that campus expansion has not only made the campus more attractive, it has given Temple an image of safety that the university has not always enjoyed.
“There are still a lot of suburban families that would never dream of sending their children to Temple. When they look at it rationally, they are a lot less concerned,” said Rinehart. “We’re at full capacity, however. We can’t admit additional freshman without building more residence halls.”