For the second year in a row, according to an article by Sherry Squires, Office of Communications and Marketing’s assistant director of content on Oct. 20, degree-seeking undergraduate Idaho residents and out-of-state newcomers make up the largest first-year class in Boise State history. Total fall enrollment, according to Squires, is the highest in Boise State history–totaling 24,154.
According to the Office of Institutional Research’s University Enrollment Reports, first-time undergraduate enrollment at Boise State has increased by 6.1 percent since last year; and over the past five years it has increased by 27.1 percent. While over the past five years resident undergraduate first-time enrollment has increased by 7.8 percent, out of state undergraduate first time enrollment has increased by 63.2 percent; undergraduate residents having only 289 more students than nonresidents.
“The university strives to grow at what we call a ‘healthy rate’ and that is anywhere from two to four percent each year total enrollment,” said James Anderson, associate vice president for Enrollment Services. “That’s what we need in order to be a healthy, prosperous place to continue to keep our student services up to the level they are, or even expand them past the level they are.”
Although Anderson claims growth by two to four percent each year is healthy, growth by 10 to 30 percent each year should be concerning.
“Now, we don’t want the university to grow by 10, 20 or 30 percent in total undergraduate enrollment; those are not things that we plan for,” Anderson said. “We like a healthy growth and we can continue to move our facilities up, our staffing up, our faculty up, and just a nice meter approach.”
With more than 2,800 students living on campus, according to Anderson, housing is almost at capacity; but this can be increased by proper reconfiguration of rooms, Anderson states.
“We’re close to being full. The thing to remember about housing is we can reconfigure some rooms,” Anderson said. “So rooms that are singles, we can turn into doubles; rooms that are doubles, we can sometimes turn into triples. We can start to reconfigure our inventory even though it’s the same number of rooms.”
If population continues to grow, Anderson expects more “inclusive facilities” on campus similar to the new Southfork dining hall. Anderson stated Boise State should be more than a place students take classes; instead, Boise State should be a community.
“As the university begins to move forward, I think you’ll see more inclusive facilities,” Anderson said. “It’s a great environment for students to be able to have the dining facility right in the same facility you’re living in. It certainly makes it nicer not only for convenience sake but also for building community. We want students to stay on campus because it’s a place to study, place to network, a place to meet with one another and when students do that, they have a higher success rate.”
As Boise State continues to grow, Boise State will follow their master plan. In regards to parking, Anderson stated, they encourage students to walk, bike, or use transit. For students struggling to find parking, Anderson said most of the parking constraints this year have been due to the construction–not the population growth.
“The university has a master plan and that master plan allows for campus growth, new residents halls, classroom spaces, or parking spaces–those sorts of things,” Anderson said. “With the kinds of construction that we have going on campus–the fine arts building–has taken down some parking that we would have.”
Squires also stated that Boise State is not only educating more degree-seeking undergraduates, but more degree-seeking master’s and doctoral degree, Honors College, online undergraduate and graduate and transfer students alike.
Enrollment growth, according to Anderson, was due to the welcoming climate of Boise State’s campus–thanks to the students.
“What I want students to know about this is that increases in enrollment–that has been going on for two years now–it’s because they make it such a great place to be.” Anderson said. “If the institution wasn’t a nice place to be, we wouldn’t continue to grow. The students should have a lot of pride in their university and know that others around the country are taking notice.”