The Daily Gamecock

Column: Overpopulation of USC has deteriorated its quality of education

Students at the University of South Carolina continuously struggle with its growing population size. The school's resources are becoming more limited as the student body grows larger, so the university must take action to accommodate the surge in population.

Over 46,600 students applied to the university in fall of 2023, which is a significant increase from the 34,952 students that applied in 2019. At the beginning of this academic year, Scott Verzyl, the vice president of enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions, said that, from year to year, enrollment is expected to increase by between 1.5% and 3%.

While this is a positive statistic for the school itself, students are concerned about how the population increase will have a negative effect on their quality of education.

The university's increased enrollment is beginning to overwhelm the school's current systems, including the class registration process.

Class registration days are hectic enough for students as they scramble to sign up for classes that are required for them to graduate. And students are having issues getting into the classes they need due to the seats filling up so quick. This forces many students to enroll in classes that aren't even a requirement for their majors.

Third-year English student Tanna Walker said that upperclassmen have a harder time registering now with the influx of underclassmen.

"It's a lot harder for me to fill up my electives now, as a senior, because all of the freshmen and the underclassmen need those classes, so they get taken really quickly," Walker said.

Students taking classes that are unnecessary for their majors is a waste of their time and tuition dollars. They should only have to enroll in courses that are meant to further them within their own majors.

Second-year computer information systems student Nhan Do had to replace a class that he needed for his major with an elective because all of the sections were full. Doing so set him back on his course to fulfilling his major, he said.

"One of the classes that was actually pretty important for me to be on the right track, I couldn't take it, so now I replaced it with volleyball," Do said.

The university takes pride in its "world-class education" being a primary factor attracting more students every year. But the university needs to prove that it values students' education by updating its registration process and adding more classrooms to fit the population.

Journalism professor August E. Grant said he recognizes the school's need for updated learning facilities.

"If you're studying the sciences, you'll want labs. If you're studying media, you need to have the studios. Whatever it is you're studying, you have to have the facility that supports it," Grant said. 

Having enough adequate facilities to support students' learning is crucial to their success. That is why it is important to highlight the efforts USC has made to accomplish this by building new dorms and classrooms for students as well as making plans to renovate Russell House. But it is also important to demand more of these facilities and encourage the school to continue to make these changes.

The university needs to continue expanding its academic resources by making more classroom sections available to accommodate the larger student body coming in. If so many students are having issues with signing up for classes, then it should be the university's main priority to make classes more accessible. This must be done before enrollment is increased any more.

The university should also step back and reconsider its pride regarding the high enrollment. Quality education is the most important goal. If obtaining a higher quality of education means accepting less students to provide better accommodations to current students, then that is what USC needs to do.