Vision 2020 should meet needs of future students

By Editorial Board

Since President John Peters announced his plan to attract higher quality students while increasing NIU’s enrollment to 30,000 by 2020, the Northern Star has had it’s doubts.

To us, the idea sounds like a paradox. How can NIU attempt to improve its overall student quality while reaching for a lofty goal of about 7,000 more students in nine years?

That’s a tall order, especially for a university that already missed its target fall enrollment by over 700.

The Star doesn’t doubt NIU’s ability; however, in order to make this dream come true, NIU must meet the needs of future Huskies – and fast.

In today’s front page article “Raising the bar,” Brian Hemphill, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said NIU hopes to improve scholarships, facilities and academic programs in order to meet its goals.

Though this is a step in the right direction, we have identified other areas important to students on which the university needs to focus.

For the next two weeks, the Star will run a series of four editorials, each addressing one of the following:

– Incentives. Scholarships are great, but they’re not the only way to entice students to stick around for four years.

– Faculty. Some majors have exquisite programs with top-notch staff and faculty members; however, some do not.

– Facilities. A new residence hall will help, but some on-campus buildings could use a hefty amount of upgrades to keep them on par with other universities.

– Transfer students. NIU should embrace its high number of transfer students and not just focus on attracting new freshman.

Like Peters and Hemphill, we also want to see the university flourish with an influx of both new and higher quality students. It’s not impossible to reach these goals; however, we want to make sure NIU sees all options to ensure prospective students have the opportunity to receive the best education possible.