This college celebrates its largest incoming class in 5 years after nearly merging

The Massachusetts-based college benefits from a promising fundraising campaign, an attractive academic curriculum and a diversified recruiting strategy.

Hampshire College, the private liberal arts college known for its experimental teaching style, admitted 13 students in 2019. Its president attempted a merger facing nosediving enrollment and financial troubles, and it proved her downfall. She resigned less than a year into her tenure.

Hampshire College is now set to welcome more than 300 students, its largest class since 2018. With 285 first-year students and 21 transfers, it follows four years of improving enrollment since its nearly fatal 2019 crash. Its Fall 2023 admission numbers are a 17% increase over last year, according to a statement.

The Massachusetts-based college is benefiting from a promising fundraising campaign, an attractive academic curriculum and a diversified recruiting strategy. These improvements are in small part due to the contributions of Hampshire College President Ed Wingenbach.

Shortly after assuming the presidency in August 2019, Wingenbach launched an ambitious $60 million fundraiser. As of January, the college has raised almost $40 million, nearly two-thirds of its target with a 2024 deadline, according to the Daily Hampshire GazetteOne of its most notable donations was $5 million from an anonymous source.

With the pandemic further catalyzing student interest in social activism, Hampshire College revamped its curriculum to address such topics as climate change and white supremacy, according to Mass LiveIts “radical approach” to education is a chief factor pushing enrollment, said Wingenbach in the statement.

“These numbers offer compelling proof that as students and families make their college choices, they’re drawn to an experience organized around the generation of new possibilities, new questions, and new solutions to the complex challenges our future presents,” said Wingenbach.

Additionally, the school has spread its recruitment class across 37 states. About 24 students are international and nearly 100 are of an underrepresented minority race or ethnicity.

New College, new students

Following Ron DeSantis’ revamped vision for a conservative-leaning institution at New College of Florida, Hampshire College pledged to match the Florida students’ current tuition if they transferred. Consequently, three of its incoming students hail from New College, while another 20 are pending.

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Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and Florida Gator alumnus. A graduate in journalism and communications, his beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene, and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador, and Brazil.

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