Language course enrollment has been declining at the college level

Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

When it comes to taking language courses at a college level, many students opt to take Spanish instead of the other choices at Ohio University.


According to Inside Higher Ed, Spanish is the most common choice within college language departments, but it and most other languages are facing declining enrollment.


Junior high and high school may be a reason behind that. Some high schools have discontinued offering languages such as French and German but continue offering Spanish. Therefore, students continue to take Spanish once they get to college.


While some majors at OU require students to take language courses, some students opt to major, minor or even earn a certificate in a certain language. Even with the freedom to choose, Spanish has the highest number of students enrolled.


From Fall Semester 2015 to 2017, more than 200 students have been enrolled in Spanish programs at OU. Other languages such as German, French, Russian, Russian Studies and Italian Studies have had fewer than 100 enrolled students total.


“Language courses are offered by many departments at Ohio, and they are designed to meet many curricular needs across colleges, schools and various academic units,” OU Spokesman Jim Sabin said.


In 2013, the Modern Language Association of America conducted a survey that shows a decrease of approximately 7 percent of course enrollments in languages other than English between 2009 and 2013.


Emily Kaniaris, an undecided sophomore, is enrolled in a Spanish course at OU. She thinks the reason Spanish is the most popular is that in high school, most people take it because it is easy and they just continue to take it because most majors have a language requirement and students want to get that requirement over with.


“I took a year of (Spanish) in high school but switched to Mandarin in college,” she said. “Now I switched back to Spanish because I wanted to be able to speak with a friend who is fluent in it.”


Modjeska Chavez, a junior studying psychology, is also taking Spanish. She decided to take it because she took it in high school.


“I think the university should be doing a better job of promoting the other languages available to them,” she said.


Aliviah Chaplin, a junior studying political science, is also minoring in Russian because of a language requirement in her major.


“I had an interest in (Russian) because it is a language that can be used within my major,” she said.


Chaplin said Spanish is a big language because it is prevalent in the U.S. She said it makes sense why it is the most popular.


“The university could do a better job at providing resources for students to learn more about the other languages and their benefits,” Chaplin said.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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