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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Grad acceptance rate rises to feed univ bottom line

Published: October 8, 2010
Section: Front Page

Under pressure from Brandeis’ senior administration to take in more profit from tuition revenue, the university’s graduate schools accepted more students for the current fiscal year than they otherwise would have allowed.

“We took more students than we wanted to in order to provide more financial return” to the university, Dean of the International Business School (IBS) Bruce Magid said Thursday’s faculty meeting.

IBS’s current acceptance rates for the Master’s of Business Administration program are currently above 70 percent, and money from students rose from $1.9 million to $2.7 million this year, while student population rose from fewer than 200 to 252.

“As we took in more students, we delivered more to the university,” Magid said, adding he hopes that “this year, we will look more for quality rather than size.”

The recent practices were undertaken specifically following stipulation from senior university officials, Dean of the Heller School of Social Policy and Management Lisa Lynch said.

“Our acceptance rate is a result of urges to expand our student body to increase contributions to university,” she said, “to keep everything running.”

The Heller School’s new acceptance rate of 52 percent is closer to years before the start of the university’s most pressing budget concerns, but was 60 percent last year, Lynch said.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Michaele Whelan, who gave the leadership presentation for the Rabb School of Continuing Studies, refused to give the school’s acceptance rates, saying the school’s numbers from last year were not comparable to the other graduate schools or “the same thing.”

She did however say that in the same most recent period Rabb has raised $2 million and given it back to the university.

The Graduate School of Arts and Science also saw an increase in revenue after accounts had a deficit of $1 million for fiscal year 2008.

In fiscal year 2009, the school’s budget was $1.6 million.

“Our budget is directly the tuition [students] pay minus the financial aid we give them,” Dean Mick Watson said. “We increased our Master’s students, and especially increased Ph.D. students.”

The Master’s acceptance rate was 52 percent, above the halfway mark Watson would like to achieve.