The University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering plans to increase its enrollment numbers by 25 percent over the next six years to accommodate growing job markets.
CSE plans to accept around 100 more students each fall for the next three years. The school launched the plan in fall 2019, said CSE Dean Mos Kaveh. The decision was made because careers in STEM fields are growing nationally and in Minnesota.
“We felt that we not only had an opportunity, but a responsibility to expand the college,” Kaveh said.
He said the increasing number of applicants led to the decision to implement this plan. The college has high standards for applicants and has kept its enrollment numbers steady for more than 10 years. CSE has the second-highest enrollment numbers at the University, trailing behind the College of Liberal Arts.
CSE has the highest accepted average ACT test score of any University college. This year’s average incoming freshman student had an ACT score between 30 and 34.
Although the school is accepting more incoming freshman than in past years, test score standards will remain high in comparison to other schools, Kaveh said.
“It continues to be a very strong group of new students that are coming into the college,” he said.
In order to accommodate the increasing college size, CSE plans to renovate part of Lind Hall by 2021 to add more classroom and lab space that would accommodate the increasing number of students and staff.
Cara Nix, a CSE math major, said that CSE’s plan to increase enrollment could make the college more diverse, but infrastructure could be an issue.
“I feel like classrooms are already packed ... but it is important to encourage people to go into STEM careers,” Nix said.
For Jessica Ni, a member of CSE’s Science and Engineering Student Board, the initiative to enroll new students is promising. However, she expressed concerns about the plan’s implementation.
“Of course we would like to increase the enrollment of incoming students to match the demand from industry and academia employers,” Ni said. “There are definitely some logistical issues that should be considered. Admissions requirements shouldn’t be made more lax in order to achieve this greater number.”
Additionally, Kaveh said a recent proposal by Gov. Tim Walz to renovate chemistry facilities on campus would help give more resources to the college’s growing population.
“We’re really trying to do our best. The key thing is to respond both to demand by students who want to do programs in our college and also be responsive to the workforce demands in the state and in the nation in science and engineering,” Kaveh said.