Big Plans

More Owls will be on campus as Rice expands its undergraduate and graduate classes.

A new residential college is on the horizon as plans form to accommodate the coming expansion of the undergraduate student body by 20%, a decision recently approved by Rice’s Board of Trustees. 

By scaling up annually over five years, Rice plans to enlarge the undergraduate population from its current enrollment of 4,052 students (fall 2020) to 4,800 by fall 2025. As a result of this growth, the university will open a 12th residential college and expand the number of students living on campus by about one-third to 3,525. Although graduate student enrollment is more decentralized, Rice’s current population of roughly 3,500 degree-seeking graduate students is also expected to grow, bringing Rice’s total enrollment to approximately 9,000 by fall 2025. With this newly announced change, Rice’s student body will have grown by about 80% over two decades.

“Rice’s extraordinary applicant pool has grown dramatically,” President David Leebron said. “With the previous expansion we greatly increased our national and international student applications, enrollment and visibility. We also dramatically increased diversity on our campus, and we were able to extend the benefits of a Rice education to many more students.”

Higher enrollment will help Rice not only continue developing a more diverse and dynamic environment on campus, but also add more faculty members. The full-time instructional faculty is expected to increase by nearly 50 by fall 2025. Rice’s undergraduate student-faculty ratio would remain roughly the same — about six undergraduates for every faculty member.

“Expanding the student body will also expand Rice’s future alumni base across the nation and around the world,” said Robert Ladd ’78, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees. “Welcoming more students to the Rice campus today will have an impact on the university for generations to come.”