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Is Occidental College Experiencing an Obama Effect?

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Photo by m kashara via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Occidental College, the private liberal arts school with its campus on the hills above Eagle Rock, is experiencing a marvelous surge in enrollment for the upcoming school year, reports the LA Times. They are "expected to enroll a freshman class of about 560 this fall -- up 100 students, or 21% -- from last year," and this has many wondering if the campus' popularity is because President Barack Obama began his post-secondary journey there in 1979.Students around the country have admitted that they'd never even heard of "Oxy" until Obama's life story became election fodder--in fact, some admit to thinking it was a dental school ("Oxy-Dental")! Students, eager to forge a successful life-path like the President have become enchanted by the beautiful hilltop campus, and pleased that it offers many academic, social, and athletic opportunities. Occidental is pleased because at $50k a head per year, that's a lot of revenue at a time when many public education facilities are struggling.

Parents are struggling, too, which might make the case for the Obama effect: "Experts say an increase of that size is unusual during healthy financial seasons, let alone in a recession in which families are more cautious about paying nearly $50,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees at a private college," signaling that perhaps parents are willing to work things out if it means sending their kids to a school the President once attended. But no matter the inspiration, it's good news for Oxy, and the local economy; that's more jobs for campus faculty and staff, and more students calling the Oxy dorms home, then going down the hill to spend their (parents') cash at places Casa Bianca and the Oinkster.