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Facing housing crunch, Middlebury College is paying 40 students $10K to skip the fall, winter semesters

A white building with large columns out front, with colorful flags and the school seal hanging between them.
Sophie Stephens
Vermont Public
Around 60 Middlebury College students applied to a program offering $10,000 for juniors and seniors to take a semester off.

Early this month, Middlebury College offered a $10,000 stipend to a select number of juniors and seniors interested in taking a break for this school year. That's because students who took a leave of absence during the pandemic are back, leading to limited space on campus and in dorms.

And now Middlebury College will give 40 upperclassmen $10,000 to skip the 2023 fall and winter semesters. Around 60 students applied to the program, according to a spokesperson.

Middlebury is a residential college, meaning most students live on campus. In an email to them, school officials said the campus squeeze is due to pandemic-era students graduating later, and not a larger first-year class.

The college said “no other measures” to alleviate the dorm situation are needed at the time.

Officials expect the student head count to return to normal next spring, after February's graduation. And they have no plans to relaunch the stipend program.

The college hopes a new first-year dorm under construction will help with the housing crunch. Officials say they do not plan to increase the number of students approved for off-campus housing.

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