The grass is greener on our campus

Decrease in enrollment could be worse

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With the start of the new school year came a new reason for College of DuPage community members to worry. COD faculty and students weren’t shocked, but were still disappointed in the decrease of student enrollment for the first time since 2011. After controversy surrounded the college this entire past year, it would be hard to believe that situation didn’t have an effect on potential students’ opinions of COD. And it did: a whopping 1.4% enrollment decrease that has the community up in arms. Remember that saying about making a mountain out of a molehill?

So, we lost a few fellow Chaparrals. Big deal. When looking at the big picture, there really is no reason to panic. This 1.4% decrease is actually scant compared to what other Illinois community colleges are facing. For example, according to the Daily Herald, Harper College faced a decline in enrollment of at least 9%. This comparison certainly makes the grass seem much greener on our campus. With that in mind, in addition to the mere $1.5 million lost from a $180 million budget at COD, the worry over the college’s fate just seems trivial.

In defense of those who are worried, part of their fear was sparked by the legitimate correlation between former President Robert Breuder’s term and the steady increase in enrollment that came with it. Between 2011 and 2014, enrollment increased by about 3,000 students. It wasn’t a huge difference, but a higher enrollment number certainly brings with it better publicity than a decrease. While many community members were angered by Breuder’s constant spending when it came to improving the college, the enhancements definitely could have contributed to attracting more possible students. A newly renovated campus was seen as a warm welcome, despite its exorbitant price tag. Now, with 2015 being the first year without Breuder, and the first year without an increase in enrollment, it’s been speculated that maybe the correlation was actually cause and effect.

It makes sense to consider that connection, but the truth is that the change is already done and there is no turning back. Our campus is beautiful, our academics are great, our corrupt president is gone, and if what COD has to offer isn’t enough for some students, then so be it. We have a surplus of money, so much so that premium parking was removed because there was no point in collecting that revenue anymore. The new Board of Trustees is already at work to fix the issues facing the college, and students and staff can finally breathe a sigh of relief after the whirlwind year we faced before. A 1.4% decrease in enrollment is child’s play compared to the rest of what COD has endured in the recent past.

There’s nothing “good” about a decline in enrollment, but it isn’t necessarily “bad” either. In this case, currently, there isn’t much left to be done to further improve conditions at COD to bring in new students anyway. Keeping out of the negative press and fixing the mess Breuder left behind is what we’ve got going for us now, and the new administration has already made an excellent start of that. COD has been wrapped up in problem after problem for so long, maybe we’ve just forgotten how to take things as they are and see the bright side. Enrollment is down, but not that much; so let’s let this problem go, just this once.