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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Editorial: Restricting majors not a fair solution

    It’s no secret that when it comes to class availability, the UA has problems. Students perpetually struggle to find spots in the courses they need to graduate; departments struggle to keep class sizes small.

    When the money to pay for new students evaporated at a rate inversely proportionate to growing class demand, UA colleges and programs addressed the problem by raising entrance requirements to restrict enrollment.

    The move makes a lot of sense, especially in light of the UA’s mission of Focused Excellence. Students in the Eller College of Management, for example, must complete a rigorous set of prerequisites with a relatively high grade point average before applying to their major. In the process, many are turned away from such programs.

    Measures such as these are a huge boon to the departments that use them: Not only do students work harder in their pre-major classes because admission to the major is competitive, but such programs have their pick of the litter, and therefore graduate students of a higher caliber.

    But what happens to the students who are denied admission to their programs of choice? They gravitate to other colleges on campus, most notably the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, burdening other departments with mushrooming enrollment.

    Such departments are no better equipped to deal with a huge influx of students; they face the same budget problems and availability shortages as those that have responded by limiting enrollment.

    But now these overburdened departments have begun to adopt stringent enrollment policies similar to those of businesses, seeing the model as a tried-and-true method for restricting enrollment.

    In fact, facing huge student demand and a need to keep student-to-faculty ratios low for accreditation purposes, the journalism department, which is in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will soon enforce stricter standards to curb growing enrollment in the major.

    Much like a futile bucket brigade, students will be passed from college to college with the hope that they will eventually find a home, and more importantly, a degree. But the university – in passing the students around in what is likely to become a vicious cycle – has failed to address the fire.

    Ultimately there could be a day when a student is admitted into the university but can’t obtain a degree because he lacks the qualifications to be admitted to a major. For administrators, this is unconscionable.

    Rather than continuing along the path of each program or college operating autonomously in raising entrance standards, the UA must examine this crisis holistically.

    If the university simply cannot accommodate the number of students it has with the resources it has and make it possible for students to graduate in four years, then it should raise the standards for admission to the university and cut enrollment across the board.

    If, on the other hand, there is a way to maintain current enrollment and resources without locking students out of degree programs, the university must implement a standardized policy governing admissions to its most in-demand programs.

    A university-wide dialogue must be initiated, and a solution must be found. Future students deserve a degree if they are admitted. If the trend continues, it won’t be long before aimless students are found paying tuition with no hope for a degree.


    Opinions Board

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Caitlin Hall, Michael Huston, Ryan Johnson, Aaron Mackey and Tim Runestad.

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