The Arizona Desert Lamp

Demographic Ho-Hum

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 23 September 2008

The latest story from UANews is chock-full of demographic details about the UA and the class of 2012, including the headlining fact that enrollment has topped 38,000.

However, more is not always better. Arbitrarily, I’d say that 40,000 is a good number to set an absolute bar at — given current trends, it’ll probably end up being around half of ASU’s enrollment. Again, going back to the “three schools” set-up, you don’t want UA to get so big that it essentially becomes ASU-lite; now would be a good time to start upping standards, especially for out-of-state students.

In spite of the talk of “new and exciting” changes, what is slightly troubling is how similar the freshman class is to its predecessors. The ’12 class has an average GPA of 3.4 — while this is a miniscule improvement from the ’11 class, it is the exact same as the GPAs from the classes of ’07 and ’08. Same with SAT scores; in fact, the current freshman SAT scores are slightly lower than the ’07-’08 classes. National Merit Scholar numbers decreased by four. Essentially, we’re treading water, when we should be, to borrow from Curtis Mayfield, moving on up.

Finally, reporting from the ivory tower, the most popular majors of the freshmen are somewhat disturbing:

The most popular majors for freshmen are pre-business (20.6 percent) and pre-physiology (5.3 percent), followed by psychology (4.7 percent), pre-nursing (4 percent) and pre-pharmacy (3.7 percent).

This clearly indicates that Eller is the main attraction at the school, and justifiably so. However, this also means that, even leaving psychology aside, a full 33.6 percent of students are here strictly for professional training. If the liberal arts and the well-rounded education aren’t already dead, then they are swiftly moving towards the grave.


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  1. […] to be said for diversity in higher education offerings. Increasingly, the UA is becoming ASU-South; and while this may help the state in adhering to this throwaway phrase, it punishes her best […]

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