By Kevin Shea
After the passing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior scholarship program late last spring, Paul Smith’s College’s incoming class has reportedly dropped from last year’s 288 students.
Over the years the school size has dropped, and this year it is 778. In 2014, Paul Smith’s enrolled 892 total—President Cathy Dove said she hopes for the school to one day reach 1,200.
The college, however, has sought new strategies to draw more students in. The finalization of the psychology program earlier this year will attempt to attract students from areas and social demographics previously uncommon at Paul Smith’s, according to Vice President for Enrollment Management Peter Burns.
The school has also reached out to several states to draw in students who otherwise may not have heard of the school. In these states, the school would pick out what Dove referred to as “lifestyle cities.” These cities are progressive and exhibit a fondness of nature, according to Burns. Then, 20-25 high schools are targeted for future Paul Smith’s College students.
This year, students will hail from 21 states across the country. Last year the freshman class consisted of students from sixteen states.
Paul Smith’s also recruited from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts this year and was the only college recruiting at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree (which occurs every four years), according to Dove. Twenty-one new students this year are Eagle Scouts or Girl Scouts with the Gold Award.
While class sizes drop at Paul Smith’s, many schools eligible for the Excelsior scholarship are recording a bump in their freshman class size.
This fall, University of Albany saw its largest number of applications ever: 25,000. The college also drew in 2,800 freshmen for the class of 2021, as well as 1,350 transfer students and 1,530 graduate students, according to a press release.
“It also appears that Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior program is having an effect. This summer, we are seeing far fewer students withdraw their enrollment than usual, which may be directly attributed to Excelsior,” said University of Albany Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Sandra Starke.
At SUNY Plattsburgh, President John Ettling told teachers that their enrollment for fall 2017 had risen by four percent, which results in an increase of over two-hundred twenty students.
Ferdonia University also saw a jump in fall enrollment this year. 1,164 new freshmen students now attend the school, which is 230 students more than last year.