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Career center requests more funding following enrollment increase

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor
CUSG Meeting picture (copy)

Dr. Neil Burton, the executive director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, presented a request for increased Career Service fees to the Clemson University Undergraduate Student Government on Oct. 10. Burton appeared before CUSG to plead his case for the fourth time; he requested an increase in recourse and help for the currently overwhelmed CCPD.
Burton’s proposal included an increase in the Career Service fee built into student tuition. Currently, students pay a $4.00 Career Center fee each semester, and Burten is requesting an $11 upcharge to $15 per student each semester, according to his presentation during the meeting on Oct. 10.
The supplementary income yielded from the hike in the Career Center fee would generate over $400,000 in additional funding. With the extra money, Burton explained the department plans to hire six new faculty members, including two new employer outreach staffers along with two additional career counselors.
As Burton demonstrated, the need for new faculty members in the CCPD is urgent.
Currently, Clemson has one-third of the amount of employer outreach positions at schools, such as the University of South Carolina and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Furthermore, Clemson’s student-to-career counselor ratio is 3,200 students to one faculty member, and the average ratio among other South Eastern Conference/Atlantic Coast Conference universities is 2,100 students to one counselor. The addition of two new career counselors would significantly close that gap, bringing Clemson’s ratio to 2,400 students to one staff member.
More than 20 years ago, in 2000, Clemson had an enrollment of approximately 17,000 students, and the Career Center had 15 full-time employees. Today, as Clemson continues to expand year after year, undergraduate enrollment has grown to over 23,000 students while the CCPD’s staff has dwindled to 13 employees.
As Clemson’s student population continues to soar and the CCPD’s faculty numbers continue to fall, Burton articulated that the department has “gotten to the point where they can’t provide the kind of help we used to.”
This is Burton’s fourth time presenting his case to CUSG. His efforts have proven unsuccessful in recent years due to the University’s tuition freeze on in-state tuition that has been in place for the last three years.
Despite the recent obstacles and funding issues that the CCPD has faced, the Michelin Career Center has been the Nations’ top-ranked Career Center in five of the last eight years.
Additionally, the Career Center still bolsters significant student engagement. CCPD interacts with 80% of students during their time at Clemson and has had success in placing students with a 97% first-destination rate within six months of graduation.
Senators Harrison Langpaul, Kady Bedard, Caroline Tyler, Hayden Boatwright, Hayley Levin and Abby Szlosek authored Senate Recommendation 06 advocating for the support of Burton’s requests. The recommendation was moved back into committee, and the Senate will vote on their support next week.

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