Virginia Tech received more than 27,000 undergraduate applications for admission to the Class of 2021, which marks a record number of applications for the third year in a row for Virginia Tech.
The number of applications this year is 8 percent higher than last year’s number along with the highest number of in-state and out-of-state applications that Virginia Tech has ever received.
The application pool for the Class of 2021 is the most diverse class that Virginia Tech has ever had in terms of students' ethnicities, including Native American, African American, Hispanic, Latino and so on.
“By having a more diverse pool, we are actually strengthening the student body in terms of who comes,” said Mark Owczarski, assistant vice president for news and information. “But it's always important to understand the yield. Those who accept our offer is really the critical factor in all of this.”
According to Owczarski, Virginia Tech is planning a long-term modest growth for enrollment.
“The goal is over time, over an extended period of time, to increase enrollment for undergraduate students and for graduate students,” Owczarski said. “I don't have specific numbers, but if we increase a few more extra students this year, that will be consistent with our goal.”
According to Owczarski, the growth of enrollment will not be an issue for student housing because the overall Virginia Tech enrollment is not limited only to Blacksburg. There are opportunities for students to study abroad and in different regions of the United States, such as the National Capital Region in the D.C. area.
“The idea and the concept is that we grow the program in other locations, including the opportunity to study abroad,” Owczarski said. “It is possible to have more students enroll at Virginia Tech without a tremendous additional number here in Blacksburg.”
The Department of Housing and Residence Life closely watched and monitored the student housing to make sure there is enough housing for the incoming first-year students.
“Well, the good news is that the increase is a planned increase which is always helpful, and as a result, we managed the number of students that we permitted to return to housing this year to make sure that we had adequate space for the incoming first-year students,” said Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for student affairs and associate professor of higher education. “We've been planning for the larger class size, and we've adjusted our ratios of upper-division students versus first-year students.”
According to Shushok, Jason Hall, the former name of Brodie Hall, will be renamed New Cadet Hall and will be ready for students to move in next semester.
“The construction is currently wrapping up. It's actually almost done, and we're doing punchlist kinds of things at this point,” Shushok said. “New Cadet Hall will be open next fall, and that's an additional 500 beds.”
Virginia Tech is also planning on increasing the diversity of what students seek to study by informing student applicants about the different programs Virginia Tech offers.
“We believe in (increasing the diversity of what students seek to study), not only increasing the number of applicants, but increasing the diversity and strength of those applicants,” Owczarski said.
Owczarski also mentioned the number of underrepresented student applicants is up from last year.
“That's something we are very pleased about. We are making very concerted efforts on that front, through the beyond boundary scholarship program,” Owczarski said. “It's an opportunity for the university to provide extra support to help yield a more diverse student body so that we can have diversity that will help really elevate the culture here at Virginia Tech, to really help elevate the strength of our student body I should say.”