In his Report of the President for 1997-98, Dr. Vest noted a number of campus milestones and statistics. Among them:
Student enrollment was 9,880, compared with 9,947 in 1996-97. There were 4,381 undergraduates (4,429 the previous year) and 5,499 graduate students (5,518 the previous year). The international student population was 2,176, representing 8 percent of the undergraduate and 33 percent of the graduate populations.
There were 3,101 women students at the Institute, compared with 3,085 in 1996-97. In September 1997, 406 first-year women entered MIT, representing 38 percent of the freshman class of 1,066 students.
In 1997-98, there were, as reported by the students themselves, 2,691 minority students (1,997 undergraduate and 694 graduate) at the Institute, compared with 2,753 (1,997 undergraduate and 756 graduate) in 1996-97. They included 401 African Americans (non-Hispanic), 63 Native Americans, 555 Hispanic Americans and 1,672 Asian Americans. The first-year class entering in September 1997 included 509 minority students, representing 48 percent of the class.
The continuing healthy economy and a reduction in the number of needy students reduced the need for student financial aid in the form of grants. At the same time, endowment income for scholarships increased by 10 percent. A total of 2,505 students who demonstrated need for assistance (58 percent of enrollment) received $34.4 million in grant aid and $15.1 million in student loans from all sources. The total, $49.4 million, represents a decrease of approximately 1 percent from the amount spent the previous year.
Loans totaling $15.1 million were made to undergraduates, a decrease of 5 percent from the previous year. The total of loans made to undergraduate and graduate students was $28.8 million, a decrease of 4 percent from the previous year.
A record-breaking number of employers visited campus to recruit students. The number of individual employers (not including individual divisions of larger corporations) who came to interview was 740, compared to 715 the previous year. As the year came to a close, interview schedules for 1998-99 suggested that the upward trend would continue in the year ahead.
Software skills continued to be the most sought-after single area of student expertise, with particular emphasis on new multimedia and Internet technologies. The telecommunications, pharmaceutical, finance and semiconductor industries have contributed noticeably to this demand.
Starting salaries have increased, as have the percentage and range of firms offering signing bonuses. Salaries for doctoral graduates in engineering range on the average from $65,000 to $80,000. Salary offers to master's candidates range from $50,000 to $60,000, and to bachelor's candidates from $45,000 to $48,000.
Private financial support received in fiscal l998 totaled $143.9 million, including $137.1 million in gifts, grants and bequests, and $6.8 million in support through membership in the Industrial Liaison Program. The total compares with $133.6 million in 1997 and $130.9 million in 1996. Gifts-in-kind for the past year (principally gifts of equipment) were valued at $8.3 million.
The overall financial results of MIT's operations were favorable during fiscal 1998. Revenues and funds of $1.22 billion were used for operations. Operating results produced an additional need for general funds of $4.2 million, a decline from the $4.9 million needed in the prior year. In addition, net assets increased $781.8 million, reaching almost $4.7 billion at year's end. The MIT endowment reached a market value of $3.7 billion, up 21.9 percent, and benefited from very favorable investment returns and a record level of gifts.
The research revenues of departmental and interdepartmental laboratories, primarily on campus, totaled $384.2 million, a small decrease of 0.9 percent from the prior year. Industry continued to be the leading sponsor of MIT research on campus at $74.2 million. Lincoln Laboratory reported revenues of $364.8 million, an increase of 3.5 percent.
Progress on changes in administrative processes continued. The Copy Technology Centers successfully completed their first full year of operation as an independent department, as did the Publishing Services Bureau. Within Physical Plant, the Repair and Maintenance group successfully completed their first year following redesign into five local zones and 12 central teams. As a result of the redesign and cost-saving efforts implemented by the Mail Services group, the Institute saved more than $850,000.
Several construction and renovation projects moved forward in 1997-98. The Student Services Center in Building 11 opened, 10 all-purpose classrooms in Building 2 were completely renovated, Rm 9-150 was transformed from a traditional lecture hall into a state-of-the-art distance learning facility, and the extensive renovation of Building 16 was completed. The newly renovated Music Library in Building 14E received the "Building of the Year" award in the category of Spatial Planning and Interior Furnishings at the Facilities Management Expo. Plans also moved forward for the new Ray and Maria Stata Center and new undergraduate and graduate residences.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 21, 1998.