Students on campus

Auburn University plans to cap undergraduate enrollment and slightly increase its overall enrollment over the next five years.

During a presentation on Auburn University's Strategic Plan, Bill Hardgrave, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, told the Board of Trustees at its workshop today that undergraduate enrollment would be capped at 25,000 students in the coming years. Undergraduate enrollment for the 2018-19 academic year was 24,628. 

"We are knocking on the door of 25,000 undergraduates right now," said Hardgrave. "The plan is, per the KPIs (key performance indicators), is to stop our growth at 25,000 undergraduates.

"I think it's a very good strategy given what we're seeing in the marketplace and what we're seeing in different brackets that's coming from the students. We're already starting to see a slowdown across the country in the number of high school graduates and those going to college, so I think it's a very wise strategy for us."

The total enrollment for Auburn University would increase from 30,440 in 2018-19 to about 32,000 in 2022-23, with the increase largely driven by graduate student enrollment, which is projected to increase from 5,812 students to 7,000. 

"(There's) a little bit of growth opportunity at the graduate level," said Hardgrave. "Again, we have capacity there."

Hardgrave also said the plan is to cap freshman class enrollment at 5,000 students and to set a floor of 60 percent in-state students. Current in-state enrollment sits at 63.2 percent.

The Board of Trustees is expected to codify the caps on total undergraduate and freshman class enrollment and the percentage of in-state students at its meeting on Nov. 22.

Auburn University on-campus student housing was also discussed at the workshop, with Bobby Woodard, senior vice president for Student Affairs, indicating that the plan is to replace the existing number of beds in the Hill and Cambridge Hall over the coming years.

The BOT will consider approving project initiation for University Student Housing – Phase I at its regular meeting on Friday, which will supersede a 2016 student housing resolution approved by the board. 

"There's too many ideas coming here, there," said Woodard. "We want to start over and put everything together."

The project initiation will allow the university to look at possible locations, need, demand and other options for new student housing.

Woodard also indicated that the university has no plans to require the freshman class to live in on-campus housing.

"We do not have a first-year requirement. We do not plan to do a first-year requirement," he said. "At this point, we cannot house them. We don't have the ability to house them."

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