SAN MARCOS – Going to tutoring is the only thing that helps freshman Bianca Gandaria in her 300-student history class where, with so many students, she loses the meaning of the material.
“In that particular class I feel like I’m just a number,” Gandaria said.
The influx of students at Texas State University causes a challenge for Gandaria in the classroom.
In fact, fall semester 2013 marks a record-setting enrollment with the biggest freshman class in history, according to university press release.
Texas State officials said that a total enrollment of 35,568 students is almost a 4 percent increase in the total enrollment from last year’s fall semester. It is the 16th year in a row that Texas State University continued to grow.
“With student population growing, I feel we are out of touch with professors,” Gandaria said. “I feel that I can’t have one-on-one interaction with a teacher.”
In the same way biology and music education senior Cesar DeLeon connects with Gandaria. Over the last four years, Deleon has seen student-teacher interaction dwindle.
“We’ve been growing steadily, and not only did class size grow, but teacher-to-student ratio changed drastically,” DeLeon said. “The teacher is more focused on who is and who isn’t there (in class) which is really hindering my education.”
Likewise, English major junior Charles Regalado feels the “impersonal level” of interaction on campus.
“I don’t think the teacher even notices what I look like, or if I’m not there,” Regalado said.
In addition to interaction with professors, Regalado struggles in creating personal relationships and friendships with other students.
“We sit in different seats usually every day,” said Regalado, a transfer student from San Antonio community college. “You don’t really make too much of a permanent relationship because you may talk one day, but you may never talk to them again.”
Both, DeLeon and Regalado, agree that the bus system for the university needs improvement to accommodate such large volume of students.
“Riding the bus is ridiculous,” DeLeon said. “You’re waiting with hoards, hoards of people trying to get to the same bus, and you finally get to your apartment complex, and there’s nowhere to park.”
“I have to wait maybe one or two buses to get on the bus in the mornings,” Regalado said. “So sometimes I’m late because of it. It’s really a hassle. It’s really annoying.”
Beside transportation, Randi Berkovsky, a student worker at the Honors College and mass communication senior, thinks the increased enrollment fuels internship and on-campus job competition.
“Increased enrollment affected me as far as organization growth,” Berkovsky said. “I know a lot of the organizations I’m a part of have grown so much, especially with the incoming freshman class being so large.”
The increased enrollment also took a toll on Erin Fallon, 21, education major senior. She said the number of students on campus caused inconveniences in her living situation.
“I actually lived in the dorms my freshman (and) sophomore year,” Fallon said. “As they started bringing more people in, I was kicked out.”
Moreover, junior Natalie Reyes, 20, said that the student population growth has affected her financially with constructions on campus.
“I’ve definitely noticed my tuition is higher,” Reyes said. “It’s probably to pay for all of the new renovations and housing they are building everywhere.”
With six years teaching at Texas State, mass communication professor Tom Grimes isn’t pleased with the increased student body, but he does see the economic reason for the growth.
Grimes said, because the legislature shut down the idea of lending money to the university for expansion, Texas State needs increased revenue from the enrollment to maintain its accredited status.
“We’re in a trap,” Grimes said. “We had a solution going before the legislature killed it.”
· Bianca Gandaria, email@example.com
· Cesar DeLeon, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Charles Regalado, email@example.com
· Randi Berkovsky, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Erin Fallon, email@example.com
· Natalie Reyes, email unknown
· Tom Grimes, firstname.lastname@example.org