Rowan enrollment passes 10,000

Rowan enrollment passes 10,000

By Jessica Beym

For the first time in Rowan University's history, enrollment numbers have broken past the 10,000-student mark.

And for the years to come, it's likely the student population will only continue to increase, President Donald J. Farish told the board of trustees Wednesday.

As the new school year enters into the third week, there are 515 more students studying at Rowan University. Freshman enrollment and transfer students are also up this year, Farish reported.

"The good news is we have a lot of people here," Farish said. "The bad news is we have a lot of people here."

The president has said he hopes to increase enrollment by about 100 students per year and the university's plans for westward expansion into Mantua Township will accommodate those additional students in future years.

But the university is also discovering that, just as more students are interested in attending Rowan, even more students want to live on campus.

"We can't accept more students behind what we already have, if we have no place to house them," Farish said.

To plan for the future, the trustees on Wednesday authorized spending up to $185,000 on a new housing feasibility study. The contract, awarded to Paulus Sokolowski and Sartor of Warren, will fund the planning and architectural designs for approximately 700 new student beds for freshmen.

The housing would be located on vacant land owned by the university along U.S. Route 322 and Main Street. Several fraternity homes were once located on the site.

Mansion Park Apartments, one of the oldest on-campus housing units, would also be demolished to make room for the new housing.

"We are excited about it because it's an opportunity for us to re-conceptualize how freshman housing can be done," Farish said.

The schematic designs will lead to engineering plans and cost estimates for the actual construction.

However, the construction cannot begin until additional housing is built along the planned Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro, Farish said. Then a parking garage must be built to accommodate those new students before Mansion Park can be torn down. Farish estimates that could be in 2010, with new beds ready there by 2011.

This year, on-campus housing is close quarters for some students, particularly about 80 freshmen who are tripled up in their dorm rooms.

There are 1,399 freshmen this year just one student shy of the university's goal, Farish said.

But one year ago, the college fell short of its enrollment target at the start of school, because many students who had put in a deposit to attend Rowan received acceptance at other schools at the last minute, Farish said.

"This year, I made some decisions during the course of the summer and said, Why don't we do as the airlines do and overbook accept those students and triple them?'" Farish said.

However, this summer the enrollment number stayed constant and there was no "melt," as Farish described it.

"We did about two years worth of growth in one year," he said, adding that enrollment is now at 10,093 and last year it was 9,578. "We were successful beyond our wildest dreams in attracting more students this year. If anyone asks, How big is Rowan?' tell them we're over 10,000 students."

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Date Published: Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 01:00
Source URL: Gloucester County Times