Lots of reasons to grin in Admissions, Financial Aid
Robert G. Voss, executive director of admissions and financial aid, is sporting a perpetual smile these days.
Smiling is easy when things are going well. And everything is currently going very well in the Admissions Office.
"We've had an exceptionally successful year," Voss enthuses. "Early decision applications came in at a record 258‹up 35 percent from last year. Applications were up by more than 200. And we've got the largest incoming class of female students in the history of the school‹161" (In 1978, by comparison, only 44 women were enrolled.)
Voss also notes that, as of July 1, 712 deposits had been received‹well over the target of 650 projected for the Class of 2000. In addition, 42 students of color, the largest number in WPI's history, will be attending; the number of students from the mid-Atlantic region increased from 65 last year to 112 this year; and the Pre-Med Program increased from 15 to 38 students. The median SAT of these students is 1280‹the highest in a decade.
"Everyone on campus contributed to the admissions success," says Voss. "But the changes in financial aid policies and the good work of that office deserve special mention. The merit scholarship program made us particularly competitive for many top students on a financial basis."
Michael Curley, director of financial aid, reports that WPI offered 147 Presidential Scholarships and 33 students (22 percent) accepted. The $10,000, merit-based scholarships are offered by the Admissions Office to the top 150 freshman applicants.
Ninety-seven of these award-winners were valedictorians; 22 members of this elite group enrolled at a cost of $78,580. An additional 21 students received Medical Professions Scholars' Awards at a cost to WPI of $34,600.
"Our biggest increase in yield this year appears to be from our direct competition with students who also applied to RPI," Curley says. "It increased from 14 percent in 1995 to 33 percent in 1996."
Curley notes that he uses different methodologies to determine contributions from students' families. Ultimately, he says, the average amount of dollars offered and accepted has increased. This year, WPI spent 600,000 extra dollars from the financial aid budget to bring in this record-breaking class. "But the added revenue from the students will more than cover this cost," he explains.
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