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Enrollment decline upsets student body

Many students on campus feel that an disproportional number of students are transferring out of Mills this semester, while the administration maintains that there is nothing unusual about enrollment or transfer rates.

Like many students on campus, freshwoman Kelsi Johnson said that she has thought about transferring out of Mills.

Although for now she plans to stay at Mills, Johnson said that transferring could make it easier for her and others to get their needs met by allowing them to take the required classes they needed.

“I know a lot of art majors that are considering transferring to Berkeley,” she said.

“They can’t get into the classes they need this year, or their majors are being dropped.”

According to Myrt Whitcomb, current dean of admissions and former dean of students, Mills usually has lower enrollment in the spring because of fewer incoming students, students going abroad second semester and transfers who graduate in December. However, Whitcomb said that the number of students applying to transfer were not on the rise.

“Before I left the office of student life those numbers were not up. In terms of withdraws those numbers weren’t up particularly.”

She said that as far as the college knows thus far, the numbers and data do not indicate that persistence, that is the percentage of students staying at Mills, is down.

According to Mills College 2002-2003 facts and trends report by the office of institutional research, the persistence rates of first year students from fall 2001 to fall 2002 reached a four year high of 81 percent.

“This is the highest persistence rate seen at Mills in the past 10 years and is the second increase in retention in as many years,” said the report.

Although the data for the 2002 freshwomen class persistence rates will not be available until next fall, Vice President of institutional advancement, Sally Randal said that enrollment rates and transfer rates for this semester, are not our of the ordinary.

“I haven’t heard that there is anything unusual about this semester, ” she said. Like most semesters, according to Whitcomb, some students left the college after last semester because of financial and health reasons among others.

“We did lose some students, and that is typical. Usually we lose eight or so in the first semester. Some withdraw, some take leaves, some want more guys, some don’t like Oakland, and some want a more lively social life.”

Sophomore Alexis Nelson said that she knows quite a few people who are leaving ” Mills or transfer to other schools. Most she said are leaving for social and financial reasons. Most of my friends are leaving because it’s so expense and they don’t want a lot of loans. And they want more of a social life. However, she as well as Johnson doesn’t blame the school for the fact that their friends need different environments. “I think the school is doing the best they can,” said Johnson.