In much the same way as farmers are often paid not to farm in order to forestall and/or correct economic imbalances, it seems that Virginia Tech is taking a similar approach to mitigate the potential strain its 7,000 incoming freshmen might place on the university and local Blacksburg economy this fall. The university’s solution: incentivize students to delay their enrollment. Apparently, the university is earmarking 3.3 million dollars to this plan with a series of offers to incoming freshman enrolled in certain programs (mostly engineering):
- Students can be paid a $1000 scholarship (renewable for four years) to take a gap year and enroll Fall 2020
- Students can take courses at a Virginia Community College, have the credits transfer, and be reimbursed for the tuition in the form of a credit applied to their first year at VT
- Students can take Fall 2019 summer classes tuition-free. Students would then enroll for either the Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 term and take the other term off. Students then enroll in Summer 2020 classes to complete their freshman year coursework
More students accepted offers of admission than the university expected, resulting in a much larger freshman class than anticipated. Virginia Tech received more than 30,000 applications for Fall 2020. Given this swell of applicants accepting admission offers, it remains to be seen how this might impact future admission processes and decisions.