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Summer School Plans Reorientation To Stem Recent Drops in Enrollment

By Margaret Y. Han

Summer School administrators are considering broadening the appeal of the Summer School to non-Harvard constituencies to counter recent drops in enrollment.

Figures released yesterday show an enrollment of 2400 students this summer, compared to last year's 2700 and the near 5000 of five years ago. These figures fall far short of this year's projection of 3000 registrants.

Although exact budget figures are not yet available, the budget projection, which predicted a $50,000 surplus this year, may also turn out to have been overly optimistic, according to a source in the Financial Office.

Trimmed Funds

The administration trimmed scholarship funds from $90,000 to $40,000 this year and is allotting aid only to students enrolled in special programs.

Michael Shinagel '59, director of Continuing Education, said yesterday that if the Summer School hopes to break even this year it will have to enroll at least 100 more students.

Shinagel said he expects these additional students to register for the short-term, intensive courses offered later this summer.

Thomas E. Crooks '49, director of the Summer School, said yesterday that "standard arts and sciences" summer schools across the country are suffering drops in enrollment, while schools with specialized programs in, for example, journalism and business, are booming.

According to Shinagel, the Summer School must evolve into an institution no longer centered around the Harvard-Radcliffe community.

Career Discovery

Shinagel foresees the establishment of a secondary student "career discovery" program of pre-professional courses and of an intensive foreign student program as first steps in an attempt to widen the Summer School's appeal.

The drop in Summer School enrollment reflects an 89 per cent decrease in graduate school enrollment since 1971, Shinagel said. The Summer School lost most of its grad school constituency when Harvard students were permitted to accumulate credits outside of the University, he said.

'Frankly Embarrassed'

Asked to explain the disparity between official projections and actual enrollment figures, Crooks, said he is "frankly embarrassed" over his earlier optimism, but that it was based on 2700 actual paid admissions and room deposits.

Where did they all go at the last minute? "Your guess is as good as mine," Crooks said, offering such reasons as bicentennial fever and the improved economy.

Crooks said in an interview in mid-June that he was "very happy" that the Summer School would not apparently face a declining enrollment in 1976.

He cited at that time a tight summer job market as a possible explanation for the late increase in applicants.

Early enrollment figures had been relatively discouraging, perhaps foreshadowing the disappointing signs visible in the statistics released yesterday. At that time, almost 200 fewer paying students had signed up for courses than had enrolled at the same point-in 1975.

Shinagel was quoted at that time saying that, "It's not so critical as we thought initially--I'm realistic about a good probability of breaking even."

In addition, he said, "We've made all kinds of budget adjustments. If we get 2500 students, we'll break even."

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