Bursting at the Seams, Middlebury College Offers Students $10,000 to Take Time Off | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Bursting at the Seams, Middlebury College Offers Students $10,000 to Take Time Off

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Published July 31, 2023 at 3:28 p.m.


Middlebury College - KATIE FUTTERMAN
  • Katie Futterman
  • Middlebury College

Updated at 4:28 p.m.

Facing a swelling enrollment, Middlebury College has offered to pay $10,000 to the first 30 juniors and seniors who opt to take a leave of absence for the fall 2023 semester and winter term.



The unprecedented offer is meant to alleviate a stark increase in enrollment. The college typically has 2,500 students, but its student body jumped to 2,858 in fall 2021 and was 2,773 in fall 2022. This fall, it's expected to potentially be as high as 2,845.

In an email to students on Monday morning, dean of students Derek Doucet and associate dean for student life AJ Place assured the community that the choice was not due to a larger first-year class, which will come in at under 600 for the fall semester, but to the return of students who took time off during the pandemic.

Permission to take the leave of absence and receive a stipend will be evaluated on a first come, first served basis. Students can fill out a form by August 3. They will receive the stipend in late December or mid-January and also receive preferred status in the spring room draw.

The announcement comes after several other efforts to navigate over-enrollment this coming fall.

This spring, Middlebury announced its first study abroad program for first-year students in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 32 slots. 

It also offered a $2,000 travel reimbursement to any student who switched their study abroad semester from spring to fall, spent a full academic year abroad, or spent the fall semester at Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif., or another domestic program.

In the past few years, Middlebury has also developed creative ways to house students.

In September 2021 the college purchased the Inn on the Green in town for nearly $1.3 million. That fall, Middlebury assigned 63 students to its Bread Loaf campus, a 20-minute drive from the main campus; 15 students to the Marriott Hotel; and 20 to the Inn on the Green. 

The college has also allowed more students to live off campus. Last year, 140 students did so, and there was significant friction with local homeowners.

The school also broke ground in June on a new first-year dorm that will replace Battell, the largest first-year dorm, which is almost 70 years old. It will add 48 net new beds to Middlebury’s housing upon its expected completion in spring 2025.

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