MIT May Consider Granting Degrees in Less Than Four Years

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology should consider boosting the size of its undergraduate population and let students complete degrees in less than four years to increase revenue, an internal report said.

Fourteen percent of the university’s $2.2 billion in revenue came from tuition in 2013. The size of the undergraduate population has remained little changed since the early 1980s, according to the report released yesterday.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university commissioned an internal task force under President L. Rafael Reif 18 months ago to rethink MIT’s operations as it faces mounting revenue pressure, particularly from tuition and research funding, according to the report.

“Preserving and enhancing MIT’s exceptional research and educational environment will require both a strengthening of existing income sources and consideration of new revenue opportunities,” the school said in a statement.

One way to increase the size of the student body and tuition revenue is to let students finish regular degrees in less than four years to open space in student housing, the task force said. A shortage of housing is one of the most significant barriers to increasing the undergraduate population.

In 2013, MIT had 19,000 undergraduate applications. The university admitted 8.2 percent of applicants.

“Clearly there is a vast unmet need for high-quality education,” the task force said. “The Task Force encourages MIT to evaluate possibilities to achieve increases in undergraduate class size so that more students can experience the rich magic of an MIT residential education.”

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