High enrollment compromises quality of college life

by The Simpsonian

When 299 freshmen moved into Simpson College last fall, trouble was looming on the horizon. All corners of the college suffered as a result of last year’s low enrollment.

But with undying commitment to recover from 2001, the college went after prospective students like fleas to a dog. Campus tour guides seemed to be working overtime to attend to all visiting high school students and their parents. Professors spent down time making phone calls to prospectives, confirming for them that Simpson was not only a good choice, but the right choice.

And on move-in day, the hard work paid off as 380 freshmen piled into dorm rooms only to find themselves living with two roommates rather than one, sleeping in the lounge in Kresge Hall or bunking in the top floor of a fraternity house.

Perhaps Simpson College wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

The college will undoubtedly see benefits from one of the highest enrollments in recent years. Higher tuition revenue could serve the student population in more ways than one.

But the overwhelming number of first year students could also weigh heavily on the college and its resources.

Consistently high freshman enrollments could continue to put the squeeze on student housing, forcing Simpson to construct additional housing. More faculty are also necessary to meet the academic needs of a larger student body.

The question then looms: quantity or quality?

Simpson College was a quality institution of higher learning in 2001 and will continue that standard of excellence in 2002. High or low enrollments would will not compromise that.

Record-high enrollments could put a strain on our resources, housing and otherwise, that may compromise the pleasant, laid-back atmosphere that is Simpson College. Those freshmen that are living in the lounges in Kresge are living there on a temporary basis. Simpson does not have room for them. Few benefit from this situation. Any benefits from this year’s inconveniences will come years down the road.