Fees rise, enrollment falls for College of Business

A recent drop in enrollment at the College of Business may be linked to increase tuition and fee rates for incoming students.

Students enrolled at the college must pay a fee for each credit hour they take. Student rates are locked in for four years after they enroll.

This year, the rate was increased by $2.50 per credit hour from $36.45 to $38.95, according to the 2011-2012 undergraduate tuition and fee schedule.

When converted into a 15-hour schedule, it is an increase of $37.50 per semester. The increase may be one factor potential students consider when deciding on a school to attend.

This year, undergraduate enrollment in the College of Business has decreased by 54 students from 1,257 in 2010 to 1,203 during the fall 2011 semester according to the institutional research and studies In comparison, total undergraduate enrollment at SIU has decreased to 15,000 this fall from 15,137 in 2010, a 137-student drop.

Nick Scardina, a junior from Geneva studying accounting, said he chose SIUC because its highly-rated business school gives him a better chance in the job market after graduation. Scardina came to SIUC in the fall of 2010, before the rate increase took place.

“I really want to work for a big accounting firm and U of I and here are the only places that they really recruit,” he said. “Price was a factor for me, so the increase would be something I would have looked into.”

Chancellor Rita Cheng said the enrollment decline is not related to a fee increase, but rather a connection to the down-turn in the economy. Cheng said the addition of a recruiter to the staff at the College of Business has led to an increase in the quality and academic preparedness of applicants.

The College of Business will offer new online classes this summer, which will include 14 required core classes. Meredith Thomas, chief marketing officer for the college, said this is not a response to the drop in enrollment, but rather to provide flexibility to students who are enrolled in the program.

“We are making classes more accessible for students that are home for the summer or not in town,” she said. “We are helping students get ahead or stay on track so that they can stay on course from anywhere.”

The online courses will be offered to on-campus students and students who attend other schools as well, Thomas said. The classes offered are part of the business core curriculum, which is standard in most business programs, she said.

The offering of new online classes shows one way the College of Business is focusing on availability to students.

“The online programs have shown significant growth in both the Graduate MBA and (undergraduate) business degrees,” Cheng said. “For example, the online UG business enrollment has increased three-fold in three years and is expected to grow even more for next fall.”

The program began with 30 students and currently serves 90, with 60 new students expected next fall, Cheng said.

Dennis Cradit, dean of the College of Business, was unable to be reached for comment.

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About Ben Conrady

Ben Conrady can be reached at bconrady@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext. 282.

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