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Sunday, May 16, 2021

I am responding to Anuradha Pandey's column in Tuesday's Alligator. She has the perfect idea of what this school should do: If we want lower faculty-student ratios and shorter lines for academic advising, we should admit fewer students. Why is it UF's responsibility to accept everyone who is qualified and jam-pack our classes so no one gets a quality education?

How often do you get the feeling you are just a number at this school? Unless you sit dead center, front row of a class, a teacher won't remember you 10 minutes after the class ends. How often do you go to the Academic Advising Center and get hurried advice that leaves you more confused than before you met with the adviser?

The solution is to let in fewer students. There is no reason to have almost 40,000 undergraduate students here with nine other public Florida universities. Perhaps if some of the students at UF, who are the brightest in the state, go to some of the other Florida schools, those schools can catch up to UF and everyone can prosper. Having too many students attend UF only hurts the student body.

Another solution is stricter requirements for Bright Futures scholarships. Free tuition has certainly been a blessing that allows many students to attend college who may not have had that chance before, but at what cost? The enrollment records for UF since the Bright Futures program started shows significant jumps in student body size. Maybe we've reached the breaking point, and UF can't handle this many students anymore. Stricter Bright Futures requirements might require some students to stay closer to home, thus freeing up spots at UF - not spots to be filled up with more paying students but with nobody, so the students attending this university can receive the attention they deserve.

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