The University of California, San Diego, is beginning its fall quarter this week with what’s expected to be record enrollment and lots of crowding on a campus that’s in the midst of one of the largest expansions in the school’s 59-year history.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that enrollment is expected to surpass 39,000 when classes begin on Thursday. Last year’s fall enrollment was 38,798.
The figures represent a planned slowdown in growth at the university. On average, enrollment grew by more than 1,000 a year over the past decade.
UC San Diego officials decided to try to “tap the brakes” this fall to give the campus a chance to absorb the students it has and prepare for an eventual enrollment of about 42,000.
The university is in the process of transforming itself into one of the nation’s largest residential campuses. It is accommodating 11,730 students this fall who had housing guarantees. The final housing number may turn out to be much higher.
Plans are in place to expand student housing capacity by 2,000 in 2020, by 1,300 in 2022, and by 2,000 in 2023. Long-term plans call for UC San Diego to house at least 22,000 students.
The university will add its seventh residential college in 2020 and an eighth a short time later.
The housing is part of a $1.5 billion campus expansion that also will include a massive student union, an innovation and design building, an engineering complex, and a grand plaza at the base of the Blue Line Trolley station, which is now under construction.
The university has increased seating capacity to 4,229 in its two main libraries, and installed digital screens in Geisel Library that tell students where they can find a place to sit.
MORE: Video of UC San Diego's North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood under construction.