Yale to Increase Enrollment by 15 Percent

The university will build new dormitories to accommodate the additional students.

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Attention, current seventh graders: Your chances of getting into Yale have gotten a teensy bit better since the university officially announced this weekend that it will build two new residential colleges and increase enrollment 15 percent by 2013, the Yale Daily News reports. The expansion plan has been 10 years in the making and will be the first significant increase since the admission of women in 1969; undergraduate enrollment has hovered around 5,200 since 1978. The expansion will be an estimated $600 million undertaking and has prompted school officials to increase the goal of its $3 billion capital campaign to $3.5 billion.

Student response to initial news of the plan last year was "tepid at best, angst-ridden at worst," and campuswide polls over the past school year have shown that students rejected the expansion "overwhelmingly." One poll taken in February showed only 25 percent of students supported the plan.

Critics have particularly taken umbrage with the proposed construction site at the base of Science Hill, a location that a colleague and Yale alum has described as "where happiness goes to die." Science Hill, where the main chemistry and biology buildings reside, is a 15-minute uphill walk from the main campus, an area that even administrators admit turns into a ghost town on nights and weekends. To make matters worse, the two dorms would be built behind a cemetery, with adjacent walls that may become "aesthetic and psychological barriers" to the plan, according to a report from a university committee.

Students also worried that the increase in enrollment might affect the "treasured intimacy" of the college and overburden its faculty.

All those complaints are now a moot point, since the university's highest governing body has approved most aspects of the expansion. Up next: squabbling over architectural style and naming rights.