Essay topics: The following is part of a memorandum from the president of Humana University.
"Last year the number of students who enrolled in online degree programs offered by nearby Omni University increased by 50 percent. During the same year, Omni showed a significant decrease from prior years in expenditures for dormitory and classroom space, most likely because online instruction takes place via the Internet.
In contrast, over the past three years, enrollment at Humana University has failed to grow and the cost of maintaining buildings has increased.
Thus, to increase enrollment and solve the problem of budget deficits at Humana University, we should initiate and actively promote online degree programs like those at Omni."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
In this argument, the author concludes that Humana University should promote online degree programs to increase enrollment and solve the problem of budget deficits. To bolster the argument, the author points out the successful example of Omni University. However, it is still replete with a myriad of assumptions which could not suffice to back the argument.
Firstly, the author assumes that the most likely reason of the decreasing of the expenditures for dormitory and classroom space in Omni University is that online instruction takes place via the internet. But this assumption is not warranted. There are many other possible reasons. For example, there are more students who rent house by their own in prior years because the house price of the surrounding of the university has dropped, and thus the payment of dormitory space of the university will decrease. Thus, without more information about the real reason of the decreasing expenditure, it is difficult to measure the merit of the assumption.
Secondly, the recommendation that to increase enrollment and solve the problem of budget deficits at Humana University, we should initiate and actively promote online degree programs is not substantiated because the prerequisite of the recommendation is the assumption that the Omni University is comparable to the Humana University. But it is possible that the Omni University is totally different from the Humana University and the latter cannot enroll any student online and thus cannot promote online degree programs at all. Therefore, to back the recommendation, the author should provide additional information about whether the two universities are identical to each other or not.
In a nutshell, the argument is unconvincing because it relies on several unstated assumptions. And if the argument had included the given factors discussed above, it would have been more logically acceptable.
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