Arizona State University is on the path to becoming a "multiversity" that, by the year 2020, could serve 92,000 students and require an additional 1,783 faculty members.
Enrollment at the university’s campuses continues to skyrocket, and the first day of classes Monday proved no exception. An estimated 58,000 students started another school year.
ASU’s main campus in Tempe is expected to enroll about 49,000 students this year, up from 47,329 last year. Students were welcomed to a partially remodeled Memorial Union that now offers an Italian bistro, a Mexican grill, a Chinese restaurant and a new restaurant called Cereality where one can pile fruit, nuts and yogurt on a selection of cereals.
It will take more than that, though, to satisfy the growing student body at ASU, according to a report presented to the Board of Regents this month.
The report predicted that the university will need $191 million before 2020 to keep up with student growth and an additional $60 million to lower its current faculty/ student ratio from the current level of 32 to 1 to a more optimal 25 to 1.
The total cost of building facilities for all of these students: $430 million.
The report concluded that the university should continue to appeal to the Legislature to fully fund enrollment growth. In the meantime, a committee at ASU is studying expected growth and how it should be distributed among the main, East and West campuses as well as the satellite site in downtown Phoenix, said ASU President Michael Crow.
When the light-rail line is built, it will connect classrooms in downtown Tempe and Phoenix, and the ride would average about 23 minutes, Crow said.
That’s too long to take between many classes, he said, but more main campus students will find themselves taking courses in downtown Phoenix, Crow said.
"We’re looking to, in general, expand our overall presence in the downtown (Phoenix) area," he said.
The University Design Team is scheduled to release its recommendations this fall. The report should help ASU plan as it prepares to become what could be the largest university in the country.
"We’re trying to manage growth in the university overall," Crow said.
First-time freshman enrollment on main campus
1998: 4,943 1999: 5,868 2000: 6,002 2001: 6,203 2002: 6,348
First-time enrollment at 3 branches
1998: 4,999 1999: 5,968 2000: 6,117 2001: 6,586 2002: 6,820