A College that Pays You Not to Attend

Rough times for Ithaca College. Stuck with an entering class 20 percent larger than anticipated, Ithaca is paying 31 students up to $10,000 to take off a year of school (via NYT Choice blog.) Why?

Student matriculation in 2008 was extremely low, so Ithaca lowered its standards and sent out more acceptances this spring. But a higher percentage of kids accepted a place, and now the school's stuck with 300 more kids than it wanted without having room for all the extra bodies. It's like a desperate wannabe mom taking a fertility drug and having four times the children she expected. So you see, Ithaca is kind of like the Octomom of the American colleges.

The school says it expects to run a surplus this year with the extra bodies, but the Chronicle of Higher Education notes that "coming in heavy" (the unfortunate industry jargon for these kind of things) "can often bring its own short-term and long-term costs, and create some added financial instability ... extra spending for financial aid, for additional instructors (Ithaca had to hire several dozen), and for a new temporary residence hall, constructed in six weeks at a cost of $2.5-million."