Writer: Writer: Andy Cargal
Brigham Young University-Idaho's Board of Trustees approved a proposal last week that will allow the university to increase its full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment cap from 12,500 students per semester to 15,000.
As part of the university's ongoing enrollment expansion plan, and to better meet increasing demand for a BYU-Idaho education, the university is making room for more students, anticipating it will reach 15,000 FTE per semester between 2013-2014. The estimated headcount at that time will be roughly 17,000 students per semester, equaling more than 25,000 students annually (given the university's three-semester academic calendar).
"We are pleased to offer a BYU-Idaho education to more students than ever before. With an increasing demand for our educational offerings, we saw a need to respond, and we are grateful we have the resources to do so effectively," said President Kim B. Clark.
Approval to increase the enrollment cap was based on the university's progress in meeting specific criteria outlined in its enrollment plan approved in 2008, including reducing the operating cost per student, effectively utilizing building space, and achieving satisfactory student academic performance.
"We continue to pursue our objectives through thoughtful planning and scheduling, by expanding our range of courses offered online, and by maximizing our wonderful campus facilities. These initiatives and others make it possible for us to bless more students' lives while actually decreasing our operating cost per student," said President Clark.
Currently, BYU-Idaho offers 99 courses online as well as three online degrees. More than 110 courses will be available online beginning Winter Semester 2011. As currently enrolled students in Rexburg take some of their courses online, the university then has the ability to bring more students to campus.
BYU-Idaho's physical growth in the past 10 years has made it possible to effectively handle the proposed enrollment increases. With the inclusion of the new BYU-Idaho Center and expanded Manwaring Center, the university has sufficient space to accommodate growth in the student body.
Increasing student enrollment also brings some challenges, such as parking availability, increased traffic and housing needs. The university will be proactive in addressing each issue, including working with the private sector to provide additional housing. Some additional full-time faculty and staff will also be needed to accommodate the growth, but the university expects those hires will be modest in number.