Athletes attending Millsaps College know the rigorous nature of being both a student and an athlete. From soccer to cross country, Millsaps athletes have had good experiences with the athletic program, but a recurring problem they viewed with it was recruiting. Several athletes across different sports were casually interviewed about their overall student-athlete experiences, and the only issue that came up more than once was recruiting.
Sarah Pehler, a rising junior on the volleyball team, commented on her experience at Millsaps. Although she has had an awkward career at Millsaps she had this to say:
“My experience at Millsaps as an athlete has been great. Even though I’ve been hurt for two years, I was still treated as part of the team and able to play the sport I love at the collegiate level!”
With Sarah and other athletes’ great attitudes about the athletic program, the problem is not that potential athletes anticipate unhappiness at Millsaps, but the sticker price could possibly be one deterrent that affects recruitment.
According to Millsaps’ website, a full-time student who lives on campus would pay a total of around $58,514 before scholarship or aid. However, the average total cost after aid is $23,413. The two athletes felt as if this high sticker price of over $58,000 would deter some individuals away from looking any further into the school. While this is probably true to some degree, Millsaps is not the only college in the SAA (Southern Athletic Association) with a deceiving sticker price.
In fact, the only school in the Southern Athletic Association with a sticker price below $50,000 is Birmingham Southern College at $34,400. Even with BSC’s relatively low sticker price, according to CollegeSimply the average student pays $23,846, which is almost the same as Millsaps. BSC used to have a similar sticker price to the other schools in the SAA, but they cut tuition along with scholarship and aid. Therefore, the actual total cost is similar to what it was before, although the sticker price is much less frightening.
Even if Millsaps’ sticker price was dissuading a couple athletes away from the school, there would have to be other factors causing low recruitment as well. One of them may be tied to Mississippi’s low average household income. According to the United States Census Bureau Mississippi has the 2nd lowest median household incomes in the US: $47,717 per year. Another problem is that not only is college enrollment down, but according to the newspaper, Clarion Ledger, small private colleges all around the country are struggling with admissions.
Rising junior Blaise Zeitler who works in Millsaps’ admissions department was asked about declining enrollment at small colleges in an interview.
“People these days don’t value an individualized education as much as they did in the past. Partly because a public education is so much cheaper, and it can be sometimes difficult to show people just how much of a good investment Millsaps can turn out to be if you get yourself involved” Blaise stated.
With Blaise’s thoughts on the value of an individualized education, Millsaps’ hefty price tag does not reflect the average Mississippian’s average household income. The individualization a Millsaps education offers is something that the college advertises notably, but are potential enrollees feeling like it is worth the investment? With these problems in mind, does Millsaps issue lie with recruiting athletes, or enrollment in general? Millsaps has an extremely high percentage of athletes compared to colleges across the nation. Each athlete, like Sarah, had a favorable experience at Millsaps, therefore potential recruits visiting are getting a very positive review of Millsaps all around.
With all of this in mind, dwindling small and liberal arts college numbers may cause athletes to feel as if their sport is struggling with recruiting. It is no secret that Millsaps College’s student population has been decreasing, but it could be the fault of Mississippi’s low annual household income, and the fact that small colleges around the country are having hard times. Therefore, there are many different factors that contribute to low recruiting for the Millsaps Athletic Department.
This article was written using a variety of secondary sources. If you are interested in learning more about enrollment cuts and admission requirements both at Millsaps and other liberal arts colleges, please visit the following.
“Birmingham Southern College – Admission Requirements, SAT, ACT, GPA and Chance of Acceptance.” CollegeSimply, www.collegesimply.com/colleges/alabama/birmingham-southern-college/admission/
“2018 Median Household Income in the United States.” The United States Census Bureau, 26 Sept. 2019, www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/2018-median-household-income.html. www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/2018-median-household-income.html
Ramseth, Luke. “What’s Happening at Millsaps College? Declining Enrollment Forces Cuts, Frustrating Alumni and Students.” Ledger, Mississippi Clarion Ledger, 23 May 2019, www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/22/millsaps-college-jackson-mississippi-cuts-majors-programs/3692545002/