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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Honors College: Pay or leave

Honors College: Pay or leave

There are 629 fewer Honors College students this year than last after almost 19 percent of the 2009 Honors College population withdrew. The total enrollment is at 3,116, the most significant decrease since a peak high in 2004 with 4,228.

This year the Honors College implemented a $500 yearly fee. Some students left because of this new cost.

“”There were clearly students who decided they didn’t want to remain in honors when the new fee was instituted,”” said Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the Honors College. “”We knew there would be students that would decide to leave the college than pay the fee.””

Ryan Kreisberg, an optical engineering senior, dropped from the Honors College because of the fee.

“”It’s a nice thing to graduate with honors, it looks good on a resume, but I’m a student who pays his way through college and if I see a price tag I don’t agree with, that I don’t want to pay, I have no problems cutting it out of my life,”” Kreisberg said.

He noted that another determining factor was that the Honors College wasn’t clear about where the money would be spent.

“”I still agree that they are vague with where the money is going, and I think that’s something students deserve to know because $250 is steep for a semester,”” he said.

MacCorquodale said that many students who were leaving sent messages saying “”that they enjoyed their honors experience, but they weren’t graduating with honors.””

“”People didn’t leave because they were dissatisfied or disappointed in their experiences,”” she added.

Kiki Wykstra, a senior studying ecology and evolutionary biology and Spanish and Portuguese, dropped from the Honors College.

“”With the implementation of the fee, I didn’t want to pay money for something that wouldn’t benefit me and I haven’t seen any benefits so far,”” Wykstra said. “”Not that there aren’t (any benefits) but just for myself there wasn’t anything further that I wanted.””

Other students felt the advantages of being in honors are worth the money.

Katie Dolan, a sophomore studying English and creative writing, remained in honors despite the fee.

“”Smaller classes are important to me, and the extra help from Laura Berry, she’s the assistant dean. Extra help in general is nice,”” said Dolan, whose scholarship helps pay the fee.

Dolan also said that she doesn’t attend any of the programs that are put on by the Honors College. Those programs account for 17 percent of the fee.

“”I’m not really that involved,”” she said.

Louise Williams, a philosophy sophomore, returning honors student and vice president of Honors Student Council, appreciates the extra funding to put on programs that she feels are useful to the students and for scholastic reasons.

“”Next semester there are more honors classes that are being offered that relate to me,”” Williams said.

Around four more honors classes have been added for the spring semester.

“”I can tell you our number one priority is classes with the money that remains (from extra funding),”” MacCorquodale said.

The number of freshmen entering the honors program fell by 136 this year, meaning around 12 percent fewer freshmen were admitted. However, 2009 was a peak enrollment year for first-year honors students, totaling 1,095, almost doubling 2008’s total of 697.

“”For the last two year(s) we’ve been admitting more honors students, in part to help the UA with (sic) their recruitment goals,”” MacCorquodale said. “”With the uncertain economy, we have to do more to try and yield the calls that we want, so last year and this year we have about the same number of students.””

Some Honors College students feel that the fee money is too focused on first-year students.

“”The fee really only helps a small populous,”” said one honors student who did not wish to be named for fear of retaliation. “”I don’t want my fees to pay for someone else.””

Some students are pleased with the decrease in overall Honors College enrollment.

“”I don’t feel like smaller numbers means a weaker program, we’ll have more dedicated people here,”” Williams said.

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