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New England College set to welcome near-record freshmen class

  • A “welcome new students” sign is seen outside the Simon Center at New England College in Henniker last summer. Officials say the number of incoming freshmen at the school looks to be virtually as large as last year’s record class, which forced the Henniker school to turn some offices into dorms. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor file



Monitor staff
Thursday, August 23, 2018

The number of incoming freshmen at New England College looks to be virtually as large as last year’s record class, which forced the Henniker school to turn some offices into dorms.

The school said Wednesday that about 475 first-year students will gather at the school Friday. That is well above the average of roughly 350 new students that had been common until recently, and almost the tally of 490 that reported last August.

New England College, like many small colleges, is heavily dependent upon annual tuition revenue. It is trying to increase the size of the student body from roughly 600 a decade ago to about 900 now to a target of 1,500 in future years. That figure was based both on finances, available and future facilities, and surveys asking people what size they thought would best suit the campus.

Many small colleges throughout New England are trying to cope with a slow decline in the number of graduating seniors in the region, some by dropping and changing majors to differentiate themselves, others by trying to grow their enrollment.

New England College says aggressive marketing outside the traditional areas of Massachusetts and northern New England is drawing students. That includes international students from Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Norway and Zimbabwe, according to a press release.

New England College is also trying to boost its endowment and says it has raised $36 million in its first capital campaign, which has a goal of $37 million.

The college said it has “established additional residence hall space to accommodate incoming students and anticipates an announcement soon concerning greater residence hall and office space for the expanding campus.”

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)