Business enrollment up

Though enrollment in business-related majors nationwide is at a historic low, Geneseo's Jones School of Business is experiencing just the opposite - more business majors than it has ever had before.

According to Inside Higher Ed, an online chronicle of issues affecting colleges and universities, the percentage of entering freshmen who plan on majoring in business fell from 16.8 percent in 2008 to just 14.4 percent in 2009. The 2009 figure is the lowest since 1974 when it stood at 14.0 percent.

"We are not seeing a drop [at Geneseo]," said Michael Schinski, interim dean of the School of Business. "Our enrollment is at historic high levels. We have more of a problem of having too many students rather than not having enough."

Indeed, enrollment in accounting, business administration and economics programs has been so high that last year the School of Business raised the minimum grade point average required for admission from a 2.74 up to 2.85. Schinski said that class sizes had grown too large and that there was insufficient funding available to add faculty lines. The more stringent requirement was enacted to make entrance into school of business majors more competitive, reducing the number of students in those programs.

Despite this, Schinski said that many business classes are filled to capacity with upwards of 35 students.

Business enrollment at Geneseo has fluctuated; enrollment was steady during the 1980s, but class sizes dropped to as low as 10 to 12 in the mid 1990s and the college had to work to attract students to the major.

Within School of Business majors, enrollment has increased most dramatically within the accounting program, which expanded from 139 majors in 2003 to 252 in 2009.

Schinski offered no insight as to why Geneseo is attracting more business majors than ever when the major is losing popularity nationwide, but said, "I like to think that it's a good reflection on our program." He noted that students may be wary of entering financial careers at a time when there is so much perceived instability on Wall Street.