College Pays Students $10,000 To Take Leave Of Absence Amid Enrollment Boom

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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A college in Vermont is experiencing an enrollment boom and offering upperclassmen a $10,000 stipend to avoid overcrowding, according to a Monday announcement.

Typical enrollment at Middlebury College is around 2,500 to 2,600 students, but could be 2,845 by the fall semester, according to the Associated Press. The surge is caused by students who took off during the COVID-19 pandemic coming back to the college and not by the incoming freshman class, according to the college’s announcement. (RELATED: College Enrollment Decline Tied To Pandemic-Era Mandates, Population Decrease, Expert Says)

“The larger enrollments this fall and in previous semesters are a result of Middlebury offering maximum flexibility to our students during the pandemic. Many students utilized this flexibility to take a leave of absence and therefore are graduating later than scheduled,” the announcement reads.

MIDDLEBURY, VT – OCTOBER 26: Middlebury College hosted the first large Intercollegiate Quidditch Tournament. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)

The first 30 juniors and seniors who decide to take the absence during the fall 2023 semester and the winter term will receive the payment, according to the announcement.

College enrollment fell during the COVID-19 pandemic and still hasn’t recovered and had an estimated 1.1 million fewer students enrolled during the fall 2022 semester compared to 2019, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

While many colleges have experienced a decrease in enrollment, some Christian universities have experienced an increase. Possible reasons include such universities maintaining their institutional identity and having less strict COVID-19 regulations, experts previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Students are drawn to colleges with a clear, distinct identity,” Adam Kissel, visiting fellow on higher education reform at the Heritage Foundation, had told the DCNF.

Middlebury College began construction on a new dorm last month, but it won’t be finished until 2025, college officials told the AP.

Middlebury College did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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