UNC Charlotte could surge to nearly 35,000 students in little more than a decade, a growth spurt that would lead to a radically different school.By 2020, some of those students could be studying medicine and law
. Others could board light rail to study at the new Center City campus. Still more could take classes online or at satellite sites in nearby counties.
But will the university be ready -- or will a lack of resources hurt UNCC's ability to grow?
That is a question facing Chancellor Phil Dubois and the board of trustees as they begin discussing a long-range enrollment study this morning.
Officials stress that the enrollment figure -- about a 67 percent increase over the current size -- isn't a firm goal. It's the number that data suggest may want to attend the school in the heart of a growing metropolitan area.
Further studies will tell how many students, faculty and staff the school should handle and what new facilities and personnel will be needed.
4 Big Questions
Continued from 1B
Who will get in?
Last fall, UNC Charlotte had 21,519 students. But as the region grows, so will the school -- by as much as 13,000 students by 2020. The enrollment report says 25 percent of the students should be in graduate school, up from 21 percent.Lawmakers recently asked the University of Texas at San Antonio to raise admission standards to help curb enrollment. UNCC leaders worry about letting the freshmen class get too big, but fear too-stringent admission rules could turn too many away.
What will they study?
UNCC has added more graduate programs in recent years. But a larger student body and a push to add graduate students could mean programs in public health, medicine and law.
Leaders will keep an eye on a UNC Chapel Hill and Carolinas Healthcare System study of the possibility of teaching third- and fourth-year medical residents in Charlotte. Should Chapel Hill later want to expand the program, UNCC leaders say it might make sense for them to offer the courses.
Students will increasingly study away from the main campus.About 95.6 percent of students now take classes there, with the rest enrolled in courses on the Web, uptown or in other distance-education programs. The school will open a Center City building in 2010.
Campus space remains at a premium despite a recent construction boom. There are 4,417 beds, enough for 20.5 percent of enrollment.
The current master plan calls for 30 percent of students living on campus, which would mean about 6,000 more beds by 2020.
Ideally, more state money will cover the costs of new students and programs and put less pressure on tuition.
Though UNCC is the state's fourth-largest university, it ranks near the bottom in state money per student.
Tuition has risen 107 percent for in-state undergrads since 2000.
On the facilities side, a new state bond proposal could speed up campus construction, as it did in 2000. The school also has asked students to pay for many nonacademic buildings, like housing and a new Student Union.
4 Big Questions | 3B
Some of the issues UNCC must consider:
• Who will get in?
• What will they study?
• More campuses?
• Who pays?