MIT Pays Students Not To Enroll This School Year

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be one of the most prestigious schools in the country, but someone in its admissions office made a huge mathematical error.

The Sloan School of Management, which has a full-time M.B.A. program that usually has 400 students, realized it had received more applicants than it could accommodate. Instead of expanding the class size, the school asked students to wait another year to enroll in the program.

Rod Garcia, senior admissions director at Sloan, said there was a higher-than-expected number of students who had stuck with their plans to attend the school. Normally students change their plans or decide to go to another school if they’ve been taken off the wait list, but applicants have started applying only to schools they really want to go to.

The school received 4,133 applications for the M.B.A. program, and more than 10 percent of the students actually enrolled.

When the school realized it had a surplus, it emailed the incoming class on August 7 offering “guaranteed admission to the class of 2015 for the first 20 admitted students who request it.” It gave the students until August 13 to respond, but very few accepted the offer.

Sloan then offered students a $15,000 scholarship to be applied to the tuition for the 2013-2014 school year. When there still no takers, the school increased the amount to $20,000 for the first 10 students who responded. Four students volunteered, and the M.B.A. class went up from 404 last year to 413 this year.

The school made a similar offer last year, when it had a surplus in its master’s in finance program. In 2006, the Yale School of Management offered accepted students a 50 percent tuition rebate of $21,000 for the first year if they deferred their enrollment. Over 30 students accepted the offer.