(WBNG) — It’s almost time to get back to school at Binghamton University and this year, there will be more students than ever before.
“The growth in students is exciting, but we also have to be careful. We want to make sure we grow with quality, you can’t just admit a lot of students and hope you get bigger as a lot of universities do. You want to make sure you maintain your quality,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.
Around 17,900 students will be attending the University come the fall. A lot of that record number is attributed to an increase in graduate students. 1,600 new grad students are in the incoming class, that’s a 23% increase from this time last year.
“I think that there’s really an increase in demand for graduate degrees so students are seeing the value in getting a graduate degree and really getting a competitive edge in the workforce,” said associate dean of the graduate school, Gretchen Mahler.
The university’s pharmacy school that opened in 2017 has helped attract graduate students, since it only hosts grad programs.
“Every year our applicant pool has grown as well as the number of applicants we are matriculating. So our capacity is 90 students and we are anticipating filling the class this year,” said assistant dean for enrollment management and student affairs Rachael Perry.
The pharmacy school is part of what’s going to be the university’s new health complex in Johnson City.
“The building is certainly helping us to recruit because it is ultra-modern and we have really beautiful teaching facilities and labs which are attracting students to the program,” said Perry.
“We’re going to continue to grow, with the fact that we’ve now expanded our footprint into Johnson City,” said Stenger.
And more students, means more buildings. Likewise more buildings, allows for more growth too.
“And great facilities and great faculty attract great students so we hope we can have the right buildings, we know that we hire great faculty, and to blend those together to recruit the best students,” said Stenger.
While this year marks a record number of students enrolled, there’s no stopping now.
“To get to 20 thousand students which I think is the goal that we’ve always had in our minds, will take a few more years but it’s the quality that’s important, and the mix,” said Stenger.
Stenger wants to continue to focus on graduate growth, with the hopes of having the student body made up of 30% grad students. They don’t only help the university expand, but help the area too.
“These are also people that are going to be in our community and enriching our community and contributing to the workforce needs of Binghamton and of New York,” said Mahler.
Stenger believes more students are also choosing public universities like Binghamton because they are more conscious of college costs.
“To ask a parent to pay $75,000 a year to go to a private university versus $25,000 a year to go to Binghamton University is I think something the students are taking more seriously now than they ever have in the past,” he said.
That could also be contributing to the increase in enrollment.
Classes at Binghamton start August 21.