Students returning for the fall semester at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, are picking classes. With a lot of uncertainty at the school, the process is different than usual.
Facing financial problems, Hampshire announced it will admit a much smaller than usual incoming class this fall. And many current students are planning to transfer elsewhere.
As the school tries to figure out what classes to offer, it's allowing students to sign up for extra courses. The hope is once the schedule is finalized, students will have the normal class load.
John Slepian, Hampshire's Dean of Advising, said students will also be able to take more classes at UMass, Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke — all members of the Five Colleges Consortium.
"If there are things that we don't have, or we're not going to have, in the fall, then there will be opportunities for students to take more courses, and fill out their schedules for their programs, and finding things that will fit with what they study at the five colleges," Slepian said.
The five colleges usually allow students to take classes at the other campuses, but that's not going to be the case for UMass students looking to go to Hampshire in the fall.
UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said Hampshire's schedule is just too uncertain right now.
"That way, it's to avoid any complications that may arise for our students," he said. "We want to have them avoid any gaps in their classes unexpectedly."
Amherst, Smith and Mount Holyoke are allowing their students to pursue Hampshire courses, but Amherst and Smith are advising students to have a backup plan in case their Hampshire selection is canceled.
And as for Hampshire, fewer students will mean faculty layoffs — which the school said it expects to announce in the coming weeks.