The governor’s higher education panel is expected to call for increased enrollment of in-state students at Virginia’s colleges and universities. Daily Progress

The University of Virginia is considering a move to accelerate the pace of its student enrollment growth, but only if the state agrees to pony up to help the university cope with the added costs.

UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan has proposed the addition of 1,400 more undergraduate and 100 more graduate students beyond the university’s existing enrollment growth projections, to be phased in over four or five years.

“We assume the [Board of Visitors] will not condone this growth without assurances that we have adequate housing, dining, recreation spaces, need-based financial aid and faculty and staff to serve the new students and protect the undergraduate experience,” Sullivan said. “Furthermore, we expect the state to provide appropriate funding for the additional Virginia students, and we made this clear in our suggestions to the commission and in our discussion with members of the General Assembly.”

Sullivan’s proposal comes as Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment is preparing to issue its policy recommendations, which are expected to include a call for increased enrollment of in-state students at Virginia’s colleges and universities.

UVA’s enrollment has grown very gradually in recent years, increasing by 1,500 students over a 10-year period that will conclude in 2013. Sullivan’s proposal would grow the student body by a similar amount but in half the time.

“This is substantially a commitment to accelerate slightly, but not greatly, the growth we’ve had over the last decade and even the decade before that,” said Leonard W. Sandridge, UVA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Adding 1,400 new undergrads and 100 grads, Sandridge said, seems to be the “right thing for the university and the right thing for the commonwealth.”

For the 2010-11 academic year, UVA has 14,297 undergraduate and 6,598 graduate students.

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