Stanford University will begin to discuss whether it should increase the size of its freshman class and, by extension, the size of its undergraduate student body.
"It is time to begin a conversation" with alumni, faculty and others about increasing the size of the freshman class," Stanford President John Hennessy said. He characterized the increase as "slight," but gave no precise numbers.
Hennessy made his remarks in the recently published September-October issue of Stanford, a magazine that goes to alumni.
Stanford had 1,689 students in its freshman class last year, a number that has been roughly constant for many years. But the number of applicants goes up every year. Stanford received 22,333 applications last year and nearly 24,000 this year.
Stanford had 6,689 undergraduates last year, a number that has also been historically stable.
Hennessy's said in his "President's Column" in the magazine that his thinking on increasing the freshman class size is driven by the number of talented prospective students the university turns away each year.
"It is still one of the most difficult parts of the job to explain to parents with gifted children why a son or daughter was denied admission," Hennessy wrote.
But increasing the size of the freshman class "is not a conversation to be taken lightly," he said. It would mean providing more student housing and financial aid while also trying to maintain the same ratio of faculty to students, he noted.