Benefits of enrollment increase come with drawbacks

Editorial

Missouri Western’s enrollment rate has increased the past few years. Presuming the enrollment trend continues to rise, Western will become a sufficient university for prospective students to be educated at.

Having a big enrollment has positives for the university. One of those positives is that it will put Western’s name out in the state of Missouri better. I’ve seen signs advertising for Western from around the Columbia, Missouri, area. That’s excellent because for students that may not want to attend a Division 1 “big” school such as University of Missouri in Columbia (Mizzou), they can attend a school that is a Division 2 school that is in between small and large. More advertisement farther away will get the school’s name out and attract students who live in the far corners of Missouri, such as Clark County and Dunklin County and attract prospective students from different states and potentially international.

With more students coming into the school, it will bring copious amounts of money as well. More money means better facilities for the school such as extensions or add ons to halls that students have begged for that can then be accomplished. Higher quality residence halls can now be done thanks to the money. Standalone express corporate chains like Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks can be added to other halls to appeal to the student body. The Dining Hall and Cafe can be remodeled in the future when it looks like it needs a remodel for students to be in awe at. Classes that aren’t offered at Western can be added thanks to funding. Sports and their facilities can also benefit, such as Spratt Stadium that can have additions done to the Pavilion, or the basketball court can have an excellent looking court. Importantly, more money also means funding for more student organizations to appear on campus. More student organizations will mean better retention.

On the other hand, with the increase in students at Western, it does have some cons. One of the big issues is going to be parking. At Western, there seems to be limited space for parking which makes it harder on some days to find a decent spot. Imagine what it could be like next year. With a bigger class size, the parking could be in overflow, and Western will have to extend parking or build areas that offer more parking.

Another issue that matters is feeding the students. Of course there are commuters, so not every student that comes through the school is going to get a meal plan. But, the athletes and other students that live on campus may be interested in a meal plan. The line to get in the cafe may be longer and seating in the cafe may be limited.

More students at a campus taking classes is going to result in hiring more professors to teach at the school so more of the same classes can be offered. That way each student can, if they want, take general education classes first and second semester.

There are pros and cons for student enrollment. What’s important is how Western carefully accommodates to the students so they are happy here and less likely to transfer schools.