By Patrice Nkrumah
While the full effects of the state budget crisis on Chicago State University’s recruiting and retention will not be known until this fall, some students have already begun the process of looking to transfer to other institutions, according to the Speaker of the Student Senate. August Love said while the University community as a whole has pulled together during these tough times, students are beginning to think about their long-term interests.
Earlier this week, the University announced it was canceling spring break in order to shorten the school year by one week to save money. The idea, which had been brought up to a sample size group days before the announcement, was generally supported, according to Love. He said everyone understands the situation and the students’ main priority is getting credit for the current spring semester.
“In our focus group last Friday, the only viable option we saw was losing spring break and moving the graduation date up a week,” Love said. “These are unprecedented times, so the President has had to come up with extreme measures for the students and institution as a whole and everyone here is understanding and appreciative of his efforts. The students’ main concern was making sure they were not taken advantage of during the week they were supposed to be off by being loaded with a bunch of tests that were not in the original syllabus.”
Love said on a scale of one to 10, right now morale on campus is about a four. He said you can see the concern on everyone’s faces from the workers, staff, and students even the campus police officers. He said the students believe they have done everything they can to address the issue and now it is up to state leaders in Springfield.
“I mean we have done the protests, we have attended meetings, we’ve engaged the community and alumni…at some point there needs to be some change or people are just going to start leaving,” he said.
Love continued by saying many students are starting to look at schools in Michigan and Indiana where some universities are offering students from Illinois in-state tuition rates.
“By offering Illinois student’s rates as if they were Indiana or Michigan residents, people are learning they may come out ahead as their in-state rates can be up to two thousand dollars a semester cheaper than Illinois in-state tuition rates,” Love said. “Students also don’t have to worry about the school closing, so it is becoming a viable option. I know of many students who have said they will not return to CSU in the fall after this experience and that’s a shame because this school has meant so much to so many through the years.”
Love said he himself had no plans for spring break, but many others did. He said there were many students that planned on going out of town to see friends or family but those plans are now on hold.
“I will spend the time instead trying to use my position to work for the students in this difficult situation,” Love said.
The Crusader attempted to reach the media relations office for comment on predicted student retention rates next fall. Questions remain whether there has been a drop in enrollment applications and how the University has engaged alumni during this crisis. No one was available to comment on those matters.