Education: The Year the Ghosts Showed Up

A surprise enrollment surge triggers a campus housing crunch

After counting noses for fall registration, a fair number of colleges are just beginning to come out of shock. The U.S. Department of Education had been signaling that enrollments would be on a downslide as the supply of 18-year-olds shrank from a 1979 high of 4.3 million toward 3.2 million in 1994. But when the students showed up last month, some of the crowds clamoring for Lebensraum were so outsize that dozens of schools had to scramble to find beds for everyone.

Boston University, confronted...

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