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.