In his President's Report for 1996-97, Dr. Vest noted several MIT changes and statistical milestones. Among them:
Student enrollment was 9,947, compared with 9,960 in 1995-96. There were 4,429 undergraduates (4,495 the previous year) and 5,518 graduate students (5,465 the previous year). The international student population was 2,144, representing 8 percent of the undergraduate and 33 percent of the graduate populations. There were 3,085 women students (1,749 undergraduate and 1,336 graduate) at the Institute, compared with 3,013 (1,705 undergraduate and 1,308 graduate) in 1995-96. In September 1996, 451 first-year women entered MIT, representing 42 percent of the freshman class of 1,074 students.
As self-reported by students, there were 2,753 minority students (1,997 undergraduate and 756 graduate), compared with 2,630 (1,980 undergraduate and 650 graduate) in 1995-96. Minority students included 422 African Americans (non-Hispanic), 41 Native Americans, 564 Hispanic Americans, and 1,726 Asian Americans. The first-year class entering in September 1996 included 509 minority students, representing 47 percent of the class.
The market for new MIT graduates soared in every area of industry. A record-breaking 715 individual employers (not including individual divisions of larger corporations) came to MIT to conduct interviews. Software skills continued to be the most sought-after single area of student expertise, with particular emphasis on new multimedia and Internet technologies. Starting salaries increased, with averages up to $74,000 for doctoral graduates in engineering and $42,000 for bachelor's degree candidates. In 1996-97, 117 seniors applied to medical school, with 71 percent admitted.
Physical improvements to the campus continued with the reopening of the renovated Building 56 and the start of work on Building 16, an $11 million renovation of Senior House, and an expansion of chilled water capacity at the Central Utilities Plant. Four Institute projects received awards: The School of Architecture and Planning renewal project, the Tang Center and the cogeneration project won design awards from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), while the BSA and the Associated General Contractors jointly awarded Senior House an Owner Excellence Award. The Environmental Protection Agency named Physical Plant its "Partner of the Year" for dedication to promoting energy-efficient lighting.
Changes in administrative services included launching SAP as the Institute's financial system of record on September 3, 1996, with work continuing throughout the year on refining and further implementing this project. In addition, the Publishing Services Bureau was established to coordinate the planning and production of the Institute's print and electronic publications. This followed the closure of the Office of Design Services and the printing and typesetting operations of Graphic Arts, while the Copy Technology Services and Audio Visual Services became autonomous departments. The Office of Facility Management Systems separated from the Institute in September, as the Institute's space accounting functions were assumed by Physical Plant. There were also many personnel changes brought about by the Retirement Incentive Program.
MIT's budget deficit was significantly lower than in fiscal 1996. Revenues and funds totaling $1,181,700,000 were used for the Institute's operations, and total operating expenses were $1,186,600,000. The results produced an additional need for general funds of $4.9 million, a decline from the $8.5 million deficit in the prior year. In addition, net assets increased $626 million, which included net investment gains of $564.6 million and reached almost $3.9 billion at year's end. The MIT endowment reached a market value of $3.02 billion, up 21.3 percent, and benefited from a strong flow of gifts and from large market gains.
For the first year ever, industry replaced a governmental agency as MIT's leading sponsor of research on campus. Research revenues of departmental and interdepartmental laboratories, primarily on campus, totaled $387.9 million in fiscal 1997, an increase of 2.8 percent. Lincoln Laboratory reported total revenues of $352.6 million, an increase of 2.7 percent.
Private support for fiscal 1997 totaled $133.6 million, including $126.2 million in gifts, grants and bequests, and $7.4 million in support through membership in the Industrial Liaison Program. The total compares with $130.9 million in 1996, $108.9 million in 1995 and $94.5 million in 1994.
While the continuing healthy economy reduced the need for financial aid grants, endowment income for scholarships increased by 11 percent. A total of 2,609 students (59 percent of enrollment) received $34.1 million in grant aid and $15.9 million in student loans from all sources. The total of $49.97 million is approximately the same as the previous year. Loans made to all students totaled just under $30 million, an annual increase of less than 1 percent.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 22, 1997.