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Editorial: Enrollment shortfall opens the door for campus input

An email sent out by university president Gary Roberts on last Tuesday broke the news of this year’s low enrollment numbers and the deficit that Bradley will be facing as the result.

The phrase ‘when it rains, it pours’ became true for the enrollment numbers this year. Bradley fell short on the budgeted numbers for incoming freshmen, transfer students, first-year retention, upperclassmen retention and new graduate students.

The transparency from President Gary Roberts and administration is appreciated. In the situation like this, a level of transparency is critical to inform all members of the Bradley community and helps to determine the cause.

Figuring out the problem is only the first step of solving the issue.

An unprecedentedly low retention rate this fall caught the administration off guard. A low student retention rate could be caused by many aspects of both students’ academic and campus experiences at Bradley.

It is unlikely that the low retention rates are caused by one single factor or that administration could pinpoint the exact problem. Finding all the possible contributing factors are needed to direct the university’s next step.

On the bright side, there was a surplus of 47 students in online graduate programs. This is an area where Bradley can look to expand their market and develop new programs.

Now, we encourage the campus to help administration fix the problem. Roberts ended his email by asking for input.

“Thoughts and ideas are welcome and should be explored, no matter how ‘outside the box’ they may seem,” Roberts wrote.

The administration does not have all the answers as to why the numbers have dropped. They have ideas of what it might be, but in order to prevent the issue from happening again, they need help from students, faculty, staff and alumni.

This is not a time to complain to administration, but instead share real and constructive ideas about how to make the Hilltop safer, more enjoyable and better for everyone.

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