University to Meet Increasing Student Population with Campus Expansion Over Next 15 Years

Courtesy of Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications.

Over 7,000 new students joined UCSD this Fall, and as the student population increases, concerns over the university’s ability to accommodate more students with current resources have surfaced.

New students admitted for Fall 2016 will have a two year housing guarantee, just like the entering class the year before. Those who missed out on housing can join the housing interest list, but the long-term housing solution will be the construction of Seventh College.

According to Vice Chancellor of Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews, UCSD will add about 5,000 more bed spaces in the next 10 to 15 years, with 1,200 of the bed spaces currently in construction. Those 5,000 bed spaces will be from a combination of the building of the new college and the expansion of the Mesa graduate housing.

In terms of transportation, first-year students are barred from purchasing a parking permit, but they can petition to purchase one if they need it for academic, work, and/or family commitments as stated on the UCSD Transportation Services page. Otherwise, students will have to rely on other methods of transportation, such as taking the bus, biking, or requesting outside transportation services, such as Lyft or Uber. For those who do have parking permits, the Athena Parking Structure at East Campus, which was completed in June, provides more parking spots as well as the parking spots recently added in Gliderport Parking Structure.

“Given the volume of construction on the campus and community, parking will be severely constrained over the next four years. Some have begun to refer to it as a ‘Carmagedon’,” Matthews said in an email. “The use of public transportation, bicycles and rideshare programs should be your primary mode of transit for the next several years.” Matthews added that UCSD plans to add five more campus buses in the future, but when they will be in service remains undetermined.

The entering freshmen class had 84,222 applicants, 35.9 percent (30,264) of whom were accepted, and 30,264 (35.9 percent) of those applicants were admitted as stated on the University of California’s website; a jump from last year’s 34 percent admittance rate. Although the number of students that will attend was not published, we can expect over 5,000 new first-year students based on the number of the registered incoming students from UCSD’s First-Time Freshmen Statistics in the fall of 2015, which was 5,292 students.

At the same time, 18,487 transfer students applied, 53 percent (9,809) of whom were admitted for the fall of 2016. This represents as stated on the University of California’s website, a three percent increase from the previous year’s admittance rate, and at least 2,678 new transfer students are expected to matriculate based on last year’s statistics from UCSD’s Transfer Admission Statistics.

The increase in the student population has also caused major concerns regarding classroom and lecture hall space. Though there are no new instructional facilities open, new buildings are currently under construction, such as the Biological Sciences Building in Revelle, which will provide more spaces for lab classes and is expected to be completed in 18 months. In addition to the current building under construction in Revelle, a new Social Sciences Building be built in the Muir Upper and Lower Lots by fall of 2019.

The increase in students isn’t just limited to UCSD, but UC-wide and is expected to continue incrementally for the next few years. The UCs will enroll about 10,000 more California undergraduates in the next three years. This year, the student population increase is a direct response to the University of California’s efforts to increase enrollment of Californian residents and diversity at UC campuses according to the UC Office of the President. There was a 15.1 percent increase in admitted Californian residents to a UC campus and the percentage of the admitted minority students was 37.8 percent out of the total admitted in-state residents, up from 34.6 percent last year.

Natalie Lam is a News Writer at The Triton.