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Extension School Draws More Students

Previously Steady Enrollment at Harvard's Night School Sees a Jump of 1000

By Jonathan M. Berlin

Turnout at the Extension School reached a new height this year, as Harvard's division of continuing education drew 14,300 students, officials at the School said yesterday.

Enrollment at the school, which administrators said has remained steady over the past several years, increased by approximately a thousand students.

Administrators at the school said yesterday they were pleased at the interest it has attracted.

"It is certainly a gratifying increase, considering the economic conditions here in the state," said John F. Adams, assistant dean for student and alumni affairs at the Extension School. "We're very proud we're able to help so many people with our courses."

Dean of the Extension School Michael Shinagel said in a prepared statement that it was especially appropriate that the increase occurred in the wake of the school's 80th anniversary.


"It is gratifying to see the Harvard Extension School fulfill its sense of mission to the Harvard and New England communities so well in this anniversary year," he said in the statement.

The Extension School primarily serves working people wishing to continue their education, without seeking a degree; a majority of students have already received a bachelor's degree, according to administration figures. A sprinkling of high school teachers and students also attends the school, at which an average night course costs $240.

Despite the marked increase, administrators said they did not think its magnitude was particularly surprising, or even noticeable, until they examined the figures.

"It's not stunning enough that you'd see it in individual courses," said Paul G. Bamberg, director of science instruction in continuing education. He added the jump was "enough to call for some explanation."

Adams, who said the school had not yet formally analyzed the phenomenon, attributed it to "the excellent course program," as well as "the word of mouth throughout Greater Boston that this is an extraordinary educational value."

But other administrators said the rise resulted from a larger interest in continuing education in society today.

The increase reflects "broader issues and not just factors with our particular program," said Assistant Dean for University Extension L. Dodge Fernald.

Administrators said that they were not sure whether the number of degree candidates, which Fernald said was about 1200, had risen along with the overall enrollment.

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