Stanford eyes undergraduate enrollment increase | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford eyes undergraduate enrollment increase

Making room for more students is an 'increasing priority'

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, Palo Alto Online has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.

Stanford University's new General Use Permit application, submitted to the county on Nov. 21, maps out ambitious expansion plans, including not only to the physical campus but also its student body, with a placeholder to increase undergraduate student enrollment by 100 students per year through 2035.

Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said that Stanford included the enrollment increase in the application because the university "wants to preserve the option for possible future undergraduate growth," but has no present plans to do so.

The application, however, calls enrollment growth an "increasing priority" for the university.

"Stanford plans a modest expansion of undergraduate enrollments in recognition of the fact that applications to Stanford have increased while spaces available have not, resulting in one of the lowest rates of admission in the nation," the application states. "Providing a reasonable increase in the number of talented students for whom a Stanford education is accessible has therefore become an increasing priority."

Stanford's fall 2016 admission rate was a record low of 4.8 percent — down from 9.5 percent in 2008.

The General Use Permit application includes a report on student, faculty and staff population projections that assumes the annual bump in the undergraduate student body, starting in 2018. Growing by 100 students each year is "higher than the historic growth rate," the report states. Lapin said she could not recall any increase "in recent memory, beyond a few students in any given year."

In the fall of 2015, 6,994 undergraduates were enrolled at Stanford. The majority of those students — 6,401 — lived on campus. That population is anticipated to grow to 7,085 in the fall of 2018, by which time Stanford expects to receive the county's approval of the General Use Permit.

By 2035, Stanford expects to see 8,785 undergraduates, according to the report. The application proposes to add 1,700 beds to accommodate the undergraduate growth.

The university also expects its graduate and postdoctoral student population to grow between 2018 and 2035: graduates by about 70 students per year, and postdoctoral students by about 56 students per year (a total growth of 960 students), according to the application.

Faculty numbers are expected to increase at historic rates, the report states.

The permit proposes constructing 3,150 faculty/staff housing units and student beds (up to 550 housing units for faculty and staff).

"Stanford wishes to continue to provide on-campus housing to meet the increasing student enrollment in coming years, to foster collaboration and learning, and to attract and retain world class faculty," the application states.

Stanford's "broad, long-term consideration," Lapin wrote in an email to the Weekly, "is whether there should be a balance in the student body, so that we have an equal number of undergraduate and graduate students.

"But again, there is no present plan to do so," she wrote.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


45 people like this
Posted by GrandmaKK
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

This is "Winchester University" at its usual ... 'something bad' is going to happen if they don't keep building and building. Is there never enough? Sick.

41 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

Why increase the number of students? Stanford has no reason and certainly no obligation to get bigger. More students means more faculty and more space and more buildings and more support staff and more pressure on the local infrastructure, including housing, schools, etc. Keep getting better, not bigger.

12 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

The planet adds another billion people every decade.
Where do we expect them to go?

50 people like this
Posted by Good Luck
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Really? How will they do that? By lowering their admission standards?

Good luck to Stanford on finding more kids whose parents can afford their outrageous tuition.

32 people like this
Posted by jh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:50 pm

jh is a registered user.

Ironic that the University was founded by the Stanfords to educate the boys and girls of California, and I think no tuition was charged.

3 people like this
Posted by MP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm

@musical - we expect them to go to j9learn some useful trade - like bread making or agriculture

8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 28, 2016 at 2:19 pm

@Good Luck, if Stanford increased its acceptance rate from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent, that would bring in 100 extra students, who would be statistically indistinguishable in terms of admission standards.

Tuition must still be a fantastic bargain if so many applicants continue to line up. You can hang that diploma on your wall for a lifetime. Great status does not come cheap, your parents bask in the glow, and you might get a first class education as well. Donors of scholarship money obviously agree that Stanford is a cost effective place all things considered, otherwise the funds would be deployed elsewhere.

@MP, I do marvel at the agriculture and bread making I see at the Sunday farmers market on Cal Ave. Way beyond my capabilities.

26 people like this
Posted by nearby
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 28, 2016 at 4:01 pm

It would be nice if they could control the alcohol over-consumption, the sexual harassment, and the idiotic antics of the band.
Less focus on football would be a real improvement. I wonder how many students really care about football but need to conform to the macho atmosphere. And bored alumni who want to re live their youth.
Did I mention alcohol?

18 people like this
Posted by Stanford alum
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Wow, I'm stunned that the local community is so cynical about Stanford. Did you know that the freshman class is made up of 15% first generation kids? That means those kids are the FIRST in their family to attend college. Further, did you know that any child whose parents earn less than $125k per year receives FREE TUITION. And, for families with incomes lower than $65k per year receive FREE TUITION, ROOM & BOARD? Web Link

The university has had and continues to have a symbiotic relationship with the growth of this area. It has contributed greatly to the growth of the Silicon Valley and to this region. People are passionate about making the world a better place. Why is everyone so down on Stanford? Sheesh!

11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

This is one of the most prestigious higher education institution in the world. We (at least most of us) are proud to have them in our community. [Portion removed.]

I am glad to see that they are expanding to accept more students and provide more opportunities for our younger generation.

2 people like this
Posted by Random
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

@Stanford Alum, I think what you are reading here is a basic reflection of what our citizenry has become. Complain about everything and look for the negative in all. Any opportunity to tie in growth at the university with how the world will cave in to residents' quality of life. There's a reason it's called the Bubble at Stanford - because they tend to not leave it.

A reflection of today's Palo Alto - provide them a platform to complain about anything and everything, and they will.

Stanford is great for the area, and quite frankly, probably is the biggest attraction to this area. Even tech companies and venture capital funds are borne from the incubator that is Stanford. [Portion removed.]

19 people like this
Posted by parent of middle schoolers
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 30, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Frankly, I think Stanford should be adding far more than 1% growth in students per year in exchange for adding millions of developed space. 10 years and 1000 extra students don't require that amount of development. The 2 are not correlated.

Standford should not be proud of a 4-5% admission rate. To me that says they don't value educating the best students of the country... instead it says they value research, prestige, and other things over education.

It also implies they are encouraging far too many people to apply, and taking their application money and time, when there is no reasonable chance to be admitted. They are wasting thousands of people's time and money on their lottery.

my 2 cents.

28 people like this
Posted by Wanna Know Why?
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 30, 2016 at 1:54 pm

To answer Stanford alum's question: Stanford often oversteps its bounds in regard to Palo Alto, all the while insisting they are their own "city" with their own zip code.

There are really two Stanfords: the academic one, that most people think of.

Then there is the "real estate Stanford", which oversteps campus boundaries and is also a cruel landlord. This Stanford cares nothing for Palo Alto, all the while acting as if they own the city lock, stock and barrel. This applies to parts of Menlo Park as well. Both cities are treated with reckless arrogance, as if they are Stanford's Tijuana.

Add to this the fact that most Stanford personnel and faculty are encouraged to be extremely arrogant and verbally assail every other school, and any person who graduated from any other school ( no matter how high the degree) is treated with nose-wrinkling disdain. Even my spouse, who graduated from LSE with a master's degree, and has given lectures at Stanford many times, was treated this way. Stanford refused to pay her regular fee, insisting that the" privilege of lecturing at Stanford is payment enough"!!! And years before, when she applied to Stanford for a PhD, she was told to apply as an undergraduate, because her degrees would have to be " done over completely", as if no education could compare to Stanford's!

My own employer has learned the hard way not to hire former Stanford athletes: they come to work late, leave early, stay out at lunch far too long, and then seem not to have enough knowledge of their profession ( not true of Stanford non-athletes); yet, they demand top dollar! Now, he has all recent colllege grads, no matter how elite the school or degree, take tests during job interviews to prove knowledge!

Many employers feel that Stanford is resting on wilted laurels! Even some medical corporations are wary of Stanford Med School graduates these days.

21 people like this
Posted by Bullies!
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm

@Wanna Know Why?

It is so true what you observed. Stanford is the biggest employer in town, with the deepest pocket and most influence.

Its employees, while some are like candles lighting up people around them, others are real bullies in our neighborhood and community, just like some of the super rich executives living here.

We had peaceful schools, communities and neighborhoods until these gorillas step in, run over everyone else and our community values along their way, get away with it because of their affiliation or status, and bully more people down the road as if nothing had happened. [Portion removed.]

17 people like this
Posted by Stanford developers
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

@Wanna Know Why?
"There are really two Stanfords: the academic one, that most people think of.

Then there is the "real estate Stanford", which oversteps campus boundaries and is also a cruel landlord. This Stanford cares nothing for Palo Alto" etc.

They proved their realestate values when they hired a former Palo Alto mayor who is a known developers attorney, to lead their development. Her misleading title does not reflect her influence and expertise. And her access to our city's government.

7 people like this
Posted by Stanford Students are No Prize
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 2, 2016 at 3:25 pm

[Post removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Wanna Know MORE?
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2016 at 2:57 pm

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by Idea
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2016 at 6:27 pm

I think Stanford should open a satellite campus somewhere on the oregon border, or maybe, somewhere cool like Nashville or someplace they want to start an innovation hub where the ingredients are currently unlikely. Make the satellite campus free the first ten years. It would be a better way to expand the empire than being Winchester University (good one).

Like this comment
Posted by LA
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Getting better, not bigger.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay up to date on local coronavirus coverage with our daily news digest email.

These local restaurants are donating meals to Bay Area residents in need. Here's how to help.
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 11,418 views

Coronavirus: Plan ahead now for a big outbreak
By Diana Diamond | 20 comments | 4,342 views

Will the Coronavirus Save Lives?
By Sherry Listgarten | 29 comments | 4,027 views

How COVID-19 Affects Communities
By Jessica Zang | 17 comments | 1,442 views

The first few seconds after awakening; before I remember the virus
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,187 views



The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details