Area Colleges Overflow Hotels, Apartment Houses

Many major Boston-area colleges have more freshmen this fall than their housing facilities can handle, and to accomodate the surplus schools are placing their students in off-campus apartments, hotels, and in one case the Boston YMCA.

The crowding has resulted from a phenomenon college administrators call "overenrollment"--when a higher percentage than anticipated of the students admitted to a school actually decide to attend.

Although Harvard's freshman enrollment has remained stable, Tufts University, Boston College, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University and Brandeis University have all been forced to look for extra undergraduate housing because of unexpectedly high freshman enrollments.


About 160 Tufts students, mostly sophomores, are spending this academic year by the Cambridge Common in a stripped-down section of the Sheraton Commander Hotel, where the management had removed the hotel's furniture and wall-hung paintings before students' arrival.

The long-term hotel guests will have the option of taking three dinners a week at Harvard's Harkness Commons, the Law School dining facility, rather than ride the shuttle bus provided by Tufts back to the Tufts campus on the Medford-Somerville city line for meals.

No Hilles

But Thomas Winant, Tufts dean of students, said yesterday that Dean Fox has rejected a bid by Tufts to let its expatriate students use Hilles Library.

Dean Fox yesterday declined to discuss his decision because he said he has not yet finished a formal letter to Tufts, but he did say he had weighed heavily his "desire not to take steps which would infringe on Quad residents."

At least the displaced Tufts students know where they will be for the rest of the year. Almost 100 Boston College freshmen are staying at the Boston West Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge until their school can find a place for them on campus.

When freshmen at Northeastern University arrive on Monday, some 140 will find themselves living in rooms at the nearby YMCA.

L. Fred Jewett, Harvard's dean of admissions, said yesterday that his best guess on the reason for the widespread overenrollment is that last year was the first year Harvard and other Ivy League schools instituted an early action program under which applicants could be notified early of their accaptance.

When some students' admission to Ivy League schools was assured, there were fewer students applying to other area schools simply "for the sake of getting an admission ticket," Jewett said.

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