January 29, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 66  

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Western will enroll slightly fewer students

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Western will be scaling back the amount of first-entry students it accepts over the next two years, but will be maintaining an entering average requirement of above 80 per cent.

According to last Friday’s report of the Senate Committee on University Planning, Western will be enrolling 4,510 students next year and in 2005-06, 4,350 frosh will be accepted.

“We had planned a decrease in enrollment because of a decrease in demand,” said Lori Gribbon, manager of undergraduate admissions and liaison services at in the Office of the Registrar, adding last year 4,850 students were admitted out of approximately 45,000 applicants and this year 4,510 will be enrolled out of 29,156 applicants.

According to Gribbon, first-year enrollment was raised significantly last year to meet the increased demand of the double cohort, and now the university is cutting enrollment down to normal levels.

“We expanded for a three year period to accommodate the double cohort group — it was always our intention to expand our student body,” stated Roma Harris, Western’s vice-provost and registrar.

The smaller size of the first-year class will also improve the quality of education at Western, she added.
Harris pointed out that with the increased enrollment into first-year, the university has made a commitment to expand graduate studies to accommodate the larger graduating classes.

“We’re anticipating [the entrance average] won’t go below 80 per cent,” Gribbon added, citing the average has risen from 79.5 per cent two years ago to 83 per cent last September, although she maintained it would be impossible to precisely predict what this September’s admission average would be.

“We wanted to confine our enrollment in a way that allows us to maintain our quality as well as we can,” Harris said regarding the decision to keep entrance averages at an A. “We are in a very fortunate position where we can attract students,” she said.

University Students’ Council VP-education Dave Ford was quick to point out the high entrance average at Western was not a negative thing and is symptomatic of a larger issue. “I think we’re staying competitive — you need to realize the limitations of government funding,” he said.

According to Ford, the issue cannot be looked at from the institutional level, but rather the provincial level.



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