Rice announces twelfth residential college, student body expansion approved
Rice announced today that it will open a twelfth residential college to account for the plan to expand the student body by 20 percent, which Rice's Board of Trustees has just approved. The undergraduate class is expected to grow to 4,800 by 2025 from its current enrollment of 4,052 students (Fall 2020), according to the press release.
As a result of the new residential college, the number of students living on campus will increase to 3,525. To maintain the current student-faculty ratio of six to one, close to 50 additional full-time instructional faculty members are expected to be hired.
“The Board of Trustees strongly supports the expansion of the student body as a strategic imperative," Robert Ladd, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees, said. “Welcoming more students to the Rice campus today will have an impact on the university for generations to come.”
According to the press release, the number of student applicants has increased by 75 percent in the last four years, and was seemingly boosted by the announcement of the Rice Investment. Between 2004 and 2020, Rice went from receiving 11 applications per student opening to approximately 28. Rice received nearly 30,000 applications for the class of 2025, compared to the 23,443 applications for the class of 2024.
"Rice's extraordinary applicant pool has grown dramatically despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” President David Leebron said in the press release. "We must undertake this expansion carefully in order to assure that we retain the best aspects of Rice culture, student experience and sense of community.”
Although this decision's impacts on graduate student enrollment are currently unclear, Rice's total enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students is expected to increase to about 9,000 by fall 2025. In the fall of 2020, Rice's total enrollment was 7,536.
The 20 percent increase will be supported by additional campus construction, according to the press release, including previous plans for a larger student center, new engineering building and new visual and dramatic arts building, in addition to the new residential college. The press release confirmed plans to begin breaking ground on the new student center in the first quarter of 2022.
Rice previously expanded the size of the student body by 35 percent between the fall of 2005 and 2013, during which Duncan and McMurtry Colleges were built to account for the student body increase.
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