Student Life Editor
In recent years it seems as if residence halls are appearing more empty and Appian Way is feeling less cramped. This is because Keene State’s enrollment is dropping.
Over the past couple of years, it has been no secret to any student here at Keene State that enrollment has been dropping. This poses many concerns to a Keene student during and after their time at the institution.
The first reason that comes to my mind is the Keene Pumpkin Festival of 2014 that was covered by major news media outlets, such as CNN and the Los Angeles Times. This event changed the minds of the town of Keene, and people outside of the city, on how they view the college. When a reader sees the headline “Riot breaks out at Keene Pumpkin Festival” in the Los Angeles Times, it doesn’t make the college look good. Especially on the opposite side of the country.
One major concern for myself is that if enrollment is dropping, what is the school doing wrong? Do students after they graduate, or when they first get here, review the school in a bad light? These are some questions that keep me up at night because I want to make sure that I am getting the best education possible at an institution that cares about its students.
Another concern I have is, because of the lower enrollment, if my tuition will go up. Every year that I have looked at my bill, my overall tuition, (not factoring in loans, grants or award money) has gone up.
I know that New Hampshire has the most expensive in-state colleges in the country, but why is it going up? I mean, through my three years of being a student at Keene State, nothing major has changed (besides the food companies and president of the college) to really make me believe that my tuition has gone up.
Another reason I believe that enrollment is dropping is that students are not getting enough for their money. First, a lot of buildings, and I mean a lot, with the exception of the new Holocaust and Genocide studies building and The Commons academic classrooms, are dated. I spend a lot of time in Morrison and Parker Hall and those buildings are extremely dated. Some of the classrooms still have chalkboards! (Not to rag on my chalk-loving people out there).
Next, food prices are rising every year. I now live off campus so I do not have a Platinum Meal Plan anymore, but first-year students are required to buy one; and every year, the price goes up. This can be a huge factor in why students decide to stay or leave Keene State. You can’t live without food and if the college is making it almost financially impossible for some students to attain food then some students are going to decide to leave.
The lower enrollment rates are also a concern for me when looking past graduation. Ten years down the road if I apply for my dream job or a job that is higher up in the world, and my employer sees I received my degree from Keene State College, a college that hypothetically shut down due to lower enrollment rates, that is not good.
I know many people from my freshman year who decided to transfer out of Keene State. It truly is sad thinking that students do not want to stay here anymore or even attend school. Keene State needs to do more on their part to get the message out about how great of an institution that they are. They need to market themselves heavily in the upcoming years.
Keene State truly needs to do something about the issue of lower enrollment. It would be a shame to see the college go down because no one wants or can’t afford this institution.
Connor Crawford can be