The Advance-Titan

UWO enrollment causes concerns

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“Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts raised concerns among UW Oshkosh staff regarding University Studies Program cuts and a decreased number of incoming freshmen in the fall semester.

According to John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science enrollment numbers will remain uncertain until next semester, even though there are 200 fewer enrolled students this year in comparison to last.

According to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Petra Roter, recruitment efforts have increased amidst a seven-year demographic decline in Wisconsin graduating high school seniors.

“This is coupled with a very competitive market for these students and those students having more choices [in] and outside the state,” Roter said.

Roter said the University is looking to expand its territories in and out of Wisconsin. She said this includes transfer student recruitment.

“As for the impact of cutting USP classes, I am not aware of any cutting of USP classes or the program,” Roter said. “However, there may be a limiting of sections offered.”

According to Roter, academic planners consider the best use of resources and offer enough sections to meet projected student need.

“I do not believe that we will be cutting anything with this decrease in first year students,” Roter said.

Roter said the driving force is total enrollment, which includes new students, first-year transfers and retention of current students.

“The bigger issue as it relates to potential cuts to programs and services is the proposed $300 million dollar biennial cut to the UW System and its campuses,” Roter said.

According to Koker student enrollment is constantly monitored. He said the USP target number of incoming freshmen is 1,800.

“We have been [close] to that for the last couple of years,” Koker said.

Koker said he opens seats in UWO classes to meet the demand of the students. He said a class of 30 could increase its size by three students.

“One thing that’s important to me is to maintain quality,” Koker said. “We always try hard to get students in the classes they need.”

“It’s going to turn around,” Koker said. “We would operate like this whether there were budget cuts or not.”

Koker said contact with the UWO Advising Office and department chairs is essential if problems arise when students are scheduling their classes.
“We don’t want to add time to graduation,” Koker said.

According to Tracy Slagter, associate professor in the political science department, the same situation occurs every year.

“It looks like our enrollment numbers are down,” Slagter said. “It doesn’t mean they won’t recover.”

Slagter said the number of class sections is driven by enrollment. She said if enrollment goes up, classes are added quickly.

“We just want to make sure our classes are full [and] that we’re not putting up too many or too few,” Slagter said. “Of course budget cuts will have an impact, but we don’t know what that will be yet.”

According to Slagter, there are students to serve regardless of the impact. She said if UWO needs classes, they will be readily available.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UWO enrollment causes concerns