Monday, August 20, 2007

When you have to farm harder 

I had missed this article -- I've been out of town many Sundays lately -- but Andy Barnett points out a local article on SCSU's recruiting efforts to bring in more students of color.

Andy thinks we are "promoting one race over another race." I would say, perhaps. But we live in a time when finding the traditional 18-year-old student from the usual parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas (and a few Wisconsinites) is much harder. Drive along a freeway in the Twin Cities and look at the signs for universities and how far away they are. SCSU has some of those, but there are some from the Dakota state schools. Over the next ten years the number of 15-19 year olds in the state will fall by 29,200, according to State Demographic Center estimates. So too North Dakota.

If you are trying to maintain student population, then, you must recruit harder, and reach into pockets of youth that are traditionally not in the pool of students we reach. Thus I think the efforts of recruiting minority and immigrant populations are probably for the best. The alternative is to lower admission standards, or downsize. The first is clearly wrong; I might argue to downsize instead, but impetus for that is most likely to come from outside the system.

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