The incoming freshman class is larger than expected, with a prediction of approximately 850 to 900 students joining the student body Monday at the start of classes. In 2013, Pepperdine planned to increase the Seaver College student population to 3,664 total undergraduate students to expand existing programs and to elevate academic quality.
The Growing Seaver College report written in 2013 shows that the university has under-estimated the number of incoming students in the past few years, and is now ahead of schedule for the planned expansion. The university set this plan in motion to help create more revenue for university programs that will affect the entire student body and staff. Seaver College will only continue to increase its student population if it enhances the undergraduate academic experience and the enrichment of the Christian mission of the university.
“This is a plan to increase enrollment gradually over time to invest directly in that year,” said Dean of Seaver College Michael Feltner. “The whole purpose and intent of the program is to continue to grow and enhance the student academic experience at Seaver College.”
However, many students have expressed concerns that larger incoming class sizes will affect on-campus housing and increase unnecessary competition between students for certain programs.
“I’d say that it is good that we are looking to increase class size, but also there are some negatives that come along with it,” senior and freshman housing SLA Paige Henson said. “Especially when it comes to freshman residence life. With more students comes a need for more resources in freshman dorms.”
Senior Matilda Donovan said she is mainly concerned with how larger class sizes will affect the amount of parking on campus.
“I hope all the freshman don’t have cars, otherwise, we’re all going to be parking on PCH,” Donovan said.
Feltner said this was the perfect timing for the Seaside Residence Hall because the university hopes for this expansion plan to include an increase in the percentage of students living on-campus from 60 percent to 75 percent by 2031. Seaside should help alleviate much of the stress that larger classes cause, said Feltner.
“The negative effects are minimal other than the fact that we have to do a little work in the summer to make sure we have sufficient enough classes, like freshman seminars and English 101,” Feltner said.
The Growing Seaver plan allows the university some leeway for larger class sizes by allotting 17 years for the expansion. In order to combat stress on the university caused by extra students from previous years, the fall 2018 incoming class admitted 665 fewer students than fall 2017, giving this class a record low admittance rate. However, this incoming class is still larger than expected.
“When we have years like this year where we exceed our target, we adjust what will happen in the future. The long-term goal is stuck at 3,664,” Feltner said. “With each year’s enrollment, we continue to exceed expectations, but the target will remain set.”
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