EDITORIAL: Rutgers is on upward trajectory
Money being allocated toward spreading our name is worth it
University President Robert L. Barchi commended the University for its ongoing growth at the Board of Governors meeting last week. there has been a marked increase in new student applications — since last year we are up 7.3 percent at New Brunswick and 9.3 percent for all three campuses together. The number of out-of-state students coming to Rutgers is also continuing to steadily increase. To boot, Rutgers has an extremely high retention rate of more than 90 percent. This progress is likely at least a partial result of the work Rutgers has been putting into spreading and marketing the school’s brand across the country. Of course cross-country marketing requires the allocation of a most likely hefty sum of money — which many members of the Rutgers community probably believe should be spent elsewhere. That being said, it seems the benefits that likely entail the spending of that money make it worthwhile.
In addition to the ongoing Rutgers brand marketing campaign, the University also spends 2 percent of its budget on athletics. In addition to that 2 percent, there is also a certain amount of money granted to us through the revenue stream of the Big Ten — in 2017, and only increasing — as well as money received through general donations. Once Rutgers is a full member of the Big Ten, it is hoped that the athletics department will be self-sustaining, in which case the University will be able to allocate that part of its budget to other pressing matters. The money going toward athletics right now, though, is worth it because our teams essentially work as walking — or playing — advertisements in themselves. This year, for example, Rutgers put on a pretty decent show in the Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament and undoubtedly drew attention to the school. When potential out-of-state students see and hear about Rutgers, it makes them more likely to want to apply here — which they have been at increasing rates. Sports can have a huge impact on the trajectory of our school, so while it may look foolish to invest so much time and energy into them on the face, the long-term results are most definitely worth it. This is obvious when one looks at schools like the University of Michigan and Penn State.
Of course the larger the applicant pool, the more options we have and therefore the more selective the admissions department can be — this is important. But there is more to it than just selectivity. A larger applicant pool means more applications from not only everywhere in the United States, but even the world. This means that these school marketing strategies are not only working to bring the best of the best to Rutgers, but will help increase the diversity of worldview and perspective that we cherish.
Though a larger applicant pool may result in less in-state students being accepted, it can be argued that increased selectivity is generally good — not only for Rutgers’ future students, but for those of us who are presently here or are recent graduates in search of a job. Being a student at or a graduate of an elite school can obviously go a long way, and having fellow alumni all over the world is clearly optimal for networking.
In the end, Rutgers’ marketing strategies will benefit not only Rutgers, but New Jersey. We cannot forget that Rutgers represents the cutting edge of academics and research in New Jersey — we should want what is best for our state university the same way we want what is best for our state, that being growth and progress.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.