Economics majors to be limited

By Matt Michalek

Prospective economics majors will start to feel the effects of budget cuts at NIU when the economics department begins to limit all admissions.

As of spring 1993, the new standards for admission in the economics department will be completion of Econ 260, 261 and either 360 or 361 with a minimum grade of C in the economics courses and an overall GPA of 2.30.

Economics Chairman Prem Laumas said in November 1991 his department received permission from the Provost Office to limit admission of economics majors and minors.

Laumas said because of budget cuts and too many students, the department will be forced to limit admissions.

He said the department is losing one permanent faculty position because of retirement, and that position is not going to be replaced. Also, he said that $20,000 in funds for part-time faculty is being cut.

He also said 20 percent of current economics students have a GPA below 2.0, and the department cannot afford that type of student.

Economics undergraduate adviser Lester Levy said, “I think this is an effort designed to encourage higher profile and higher-performing students.”

Laumas said the department will not be able to offer as many classes, and the department will increase class sizes.

Both Laumas and Levy said they expect the number of economics students to increase initially, as the deadline for the limits approaches.

They said that after the limits have been in effect for a few semesters, the number of economics students will decrease.

At that time, Levy said the quality of education in the economics department will improve.

“Overcrowding in classes deteriorates the quality of education,” he said.

With the start of selective admissions, he said the limiting will introduce competitiveness in the department and provide an incentive for economics students to do better.

Levy said with the admission of better and more dedicated students, the department would start to get a better image among other universities.

Economics Graduate Director Susan Porter-Hudak said she also believes the admission limits will have a positive effect on the department. “(The economics department) will attract people who are serious about economics,” she said.

She said by attracting better majors to the program, there will be a greater amount who will go on to graduate school in economics.

Provost Kendall Baker was unavailable for comment.