We write to you today to provide additional information and clarification about the Bread Loaf housing process. First though, we want to make clear that our top priority is to provide an in-person educational experience to all active students who wish to be at Middlebury this fall. This principle is our guide for all decisions related to the coming semester. We ask that you keep this in mind as you read this message. Faced with a larger fall enrollment than usual, a number of other colleges and universities are limiting the number of students on campus through various means. We have chosen a different approach. We hope you will work with the College to help all students have access to that in-person Middlebury education. Students who live at Bread Loaf will be making a true contribution to that effort and we are announcing significant new incentives to enhance their experience.
Where We Are Now
As of today, there are approximately 2,880 students enrolled for the fall semester. This is about 330 more than a typical year. This is a direct result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, during which our goal has been and remains to give students as much choice as possible in how, where, and when they choose to pursue their education. The following factors have contributed to this high number of students:
- Several hundred students took all or part of last year off. Almost all of them now wish to return.
- Our study abroad programs continue to be impacted by the pandemic. About 150 students who would ordinarily be abroad are now projected to be on campus.
- Interest in a Middlebury education has never been stronger, and consequently a higher percentage of prospective new students offered admission have accepted than is typical, yielding a large incoming class. This includes new students who deferred last year. For these reasons, the incoming class will include about 50 more students than usual.
It is essential to keep in mind that our student count is not a static figure, and will continue to decrease as the summer continues. The main challenge we face now is that it is not falling nearly as quickly as it would in a typical year.
Steps We Have Taken
Since last winter we have been anticipating and preparing for an enrollment bubble, as we shared in conversations with students considering their options last year.
Over the past year, we took the following actions:
- Brought more than 140 new beds online on our main campus. We achieved this by renovating administrative office spaces for use as housing in central locations on campus. These were time consuming projects begun last year.
- Worked with local inns and hotels in an attempt to secure more beds proximate to campus.
- Worked with the town of Middlebury to release additional students to live off campus. Please note that juniors and seniors unhoused after last week’s draw who now wish to live off campus are eligible to do so. Email Residential Life (email@example.com) if you wish to be released to live off campus.
In addition, we are planning the Bread Loaf community. Collectively, these efforts will allow us to offer all of our active students an in-person education this year. Once again, that remains our first priority.
Last Week’s Room Draw and Bread Loaf
- Juniors and seniors unhoused in last week’s room draw were not required to select spaces at Bread Loaf, and any who misunderstood and/or decided to select a space at Bread Loaf and now wish to rescind that selection and enter August draw should email firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 1.
- After August draw, you may cancel a Bread Loaf room assignment for any reason, until Friday, August 30, by emailing email@example.com.
- Most students who participated in last week’s junior/senior room draw selected rooms; however, there were 179 students who submitted housing applications and now remain unhoused. There are undoubtedly others who did not submit a housing application but still hope for housing. This is a somewhat higher number than is typical for this time of year, but it is important to note that there are always juniors and seniors in the August room draw, which will occur in the second or third week of August.
- At least 120 beds remain unallocated on campus due to a combination of beds held in reserve for ADA purposes, empty spaces in special interest houses, and a small assortment of additional spaces held in reserve for the August room draw. Residential Life will send a message about open specialty housing spaces to students who are currently unhoused or who selected a room at Bread Loaf last week.
Incentives for Living at Bread Loaf
We continue to work to fill Bread Loaf housing with students who wish to be there, and are currently approaching groups of students who may be interested in living there. We are also working now to ensure that the students who live at Bread Loaf will experience the same sense of community that is present across Middlebury. Students at Bread Loaf will enjoy all the same support from their deans, the Center for Health and Wellness, and all other service providers their peers housed on the main campus will. There will also be programming and events designed and scheduled specifically for students at Bread Loaf that will be open to any other students who wish to join. Bread Loaf will offer a vibrant, active, and connected student community.
We have also added the following incentives for students who choose to live at Bread Loaf:
- Any student who lives at Bread Loaf this year will be allowed to participate in an advanced housing selection process for fall ‘22 housing prior to the regular spring processes; this draw will include highly desirable rooms, suites, and townhouses, and will be open only to Bread Loaf residents and friends they wish to bring into their housing groups.
- The room and board discount per semester for Bread Loaf residents has been increased to 50 percent so the charge for the fall semester will be $4,263.
- While we do not anticipate much housing flexibility in the spring ‘22 housing processes, fall ‘21 Bread Loaf residents will be given first opportunity to move if they wish to do so and opportunities become available.
- Free ski equipment rentals will be included with the free passes to Rikert and the Snow Bowl.
- We are working to arrange a regular, frequent, and reliable shuttle service between Bread Loaf and the main campus, including at night and on weekends. Other transportation arrangements are being planned to facilitate easy travel as well.
- All Bread Loaf residents with registered vehicles will receive a faculty/staff parking pass, allowing them to park anywhere on campus with the exception of ADA-only spaces.
- A location on the main campus is being identified to serve as a Bread Loaf student lounge.
- Free laundry service.
- Additional planning is underway for activities and events to be held at Bread Loaf this winter. We can and will bring campus happenings to Bread Loaf.
What if Bread Loaf Does Not Fill With Volunteers?
Our first priority is to provide an in-person educational experience to all active students who wish to be here. If, by the time of August room draw, Bread Loaf has not filled with students who self-selected to live there, and we have not experienced a significant decrease in our student count (which will continue to fall), Bread Loaf may be the only option remaining for some who would not otherwise have chosen to be there. Given the unexpectedly slow student melt we’ve seen so far this summer, we believe this is a reasonably likely scenario. But to be clear, we are not there yet. On-campus space remains.
We greatly appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this process, which has become far more complex due to the pandemic. If you have additional questions not answered in this email or in previous communications, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean of Students