Discourse / Editorials / February 25, 2010

Thoughts from the Embers: Can’t fool us

Every year since the large freshman class of 2006 (current seniors’ freshman year), we have listened to the administration tell us there is going to be a low, stable number of students on campus. Every year when enrollment happens, the college uses an equation for how many students to accept, according to the number of applicants who will potentially decline Knox’s acceptance. Every fall, the campus overflows with freshmen because far fewer students declined than was necessary. Every fall when TKS asks the administrators why students are overcrowded on campus, they say it happens unexpectedly. This year, there was no “summer melt.”

As the news story in this week’s issue shows, the college has two different formulas for deciding how many applicants will be accepted: one using the rate of applicants we usually use and one controlling for the economy, predicting that we’ll lose more current and prospective students than usual because of the recession.

Haven’t the administrators learned by now that people want to come to Knox and they’ll find a way to stay, no matter what?

It is understandable that the college wants to remain “full,” that revenue from tuition is important, but we shouldn’t cheapen any student’s experience by overloading the campus. Knox prides itself on personal attention, freedom to flourish and academic excellence. How can all these things be true when there are too many students for the school to deal with?

The real issue here is that the administration is predicting again that prospectives who are accepted won’t be able to come and current students won’t be able to return. This has not proven to be the case in the past; in fact, the opposite seems to be true. Last year, the country was in a recession and we ended up just fine, even more than fine as we had high retention rates and freshmen were forced to live in senior housing.

Prospective students know how much Knox will cost when they apply. If the amount is too much, they’ll know it then. Knox attracts tenacious students and if they want to, they’ll find a way to be here. If they’ve earned a spot here, they’ll find a way to pay for their education.

Knox has been overloaded for too many years and we students are starting to catch on. TKS recommends that the administration rethink using the equation that controls for the recession because, let’s be honest, the school will most likely be at capacity if you use the usual equation.

If nothing else, consider keeping the numbers low and controlled for TKS because we’re tired of trying to figure out why too many students are accepted every year and being told it’s an anomaly, that it will be fixed next year when that simply has not been the case.

TKS Staff

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