Growing pains for the new school year

Back to school in a climate of growth! Whether it’s in the preparatory year, in the first year of BA or Master, the influx of students is as expected, with EPFL welcoming more than 7500 students in 2010-2011. The future development of the campus and the recurring problem of accommodation remain crucial questions. An extensive survey is being conducted for an ambitious project to create 500 new dwellings on campus.

EPFL is beginning the academic year 2010-2011 in style. For the third consecutive year, the number of students has risen. Even though the final number of students will not be known until the end of the year, the last available statistics for registrations indicate an increase in the number of new first-year students (BA) of almost +8% (1'350 new students compared with 1'250 at the same stage in 2009). Comparable growth can be seen in the first year of Master degrees (+32%, 266 new students not emanating from the BA stream in 2009, compared with 201 in 2008 at the same stage) and in the preparatory year, also known as CMS. The number of applications for access to Master degrees is also clearly rising (+61%). Generally, the appeal of the sciences and of EPFL is increasing, a possible indicator of the quality of the courses of study and the positive image of the school in Switzerland and abroad. Once the figures have stabilized, EPFL should exceed the level of 7500 students by the end of the year (7162 in 2009).

In terms of choice of studies, architecture remains the most attractive discipline (+10% in first year). The courses offered by the school are increasing overall, in particular in the material sciences, computer sciences, mathematics, life sciences and physics; proof of the healthy state of the traditional engineering disciplines, as well as those put in place in the last few years.

A pressing need – housing
The issue of student accommodation remains a serious concern at EPFL. Many students are finding it difficult to find a place to live, whether rented or in lodgings near the school or public transport. The problem was studied in 2010, in order to analyze and quantify needs for the coming years. The future development of the campus, whether in terms of housing, urban development or access will remain one of the main preoccupations of the school. EPFL plans to launch the idea of creating 500 additional dwellings on the campus, on top of those planned in the future congress center, or those already existing nearby (for example, les Estudiantines).

Author: Jérôme Grosse

Source: EPFL