MSU Enrollment Growth Has Surrounding Issues

With the start of classes this week, Midwestern State University is looking at an enrollment growth of almost 5% as compared to last fall.  For many people on campus, a growing student population is exciting, and can give a boost to the local economy.  But having more students affects class sizes, housing, and even parking on campus.

Even though school hasn't started yet, students new and old are bustling about on campus -- it's move-in day for MSU housing.

"We're actually in what we call a an overflow situation, which is when we have more reservations than we actually had spaces for," said Director of Housing Michael Mills.

The overflow is in part thanks to more students.  MSU administrators are looking at more than 300 more students this fall than last year.  Dr. Robert Clark, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, says that means there could be problems for some students.

"They'll come in with the schedule that they want, and all the sudden they're gonna find that this class is closed, or this one is closed," he said.

To deal with the growth, faculty members have to decide if they need to offer classes later into the afternoon, or if it's worth bumping up the cap on particular classes.  Dr. Clark says class size growth is usually only a matter of going from about 25 students to 30.

"We also keep in mind that we do not want really large classes," he said.

"I probably am not worried about it, but I know that with an increased number of students in any classroom, it will make for probably more invisibility," said MSU student Caesarina Paul.

Other students may have different issues, like trying to live on-campus.  This year all the spots in dorms and apartments filled up by July 1st -- almost two months faster than last year.

"We did have to sublease with an apartment off-campus; we're gonna put 40 students over there," Mills said.

Despite crowding issues, many people are looking forward to growth for other reasons.

"It's exciting in the sense that we get to meet new people hopefully people from different cultures," Paul said.

We also spoke with Chief Dan Williams of the Campus Police.  He says they are opening a new parking lot across from the Fain Fine Arts Center.  It should have about 35-40 additional spaces.  But even with more students, he doesn't expect parking to be any more of a problem than it is every fall.

Tuition is going up at MSU as well; students are paying about $500 more for the 2010-2011 school year compared to last year.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6