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How big is bigger? Breaking down Belmont’s growth

It’s no secret that Belmont is getting bigger.

University President Dr. Robert Fisher talked about this growth in his Opening Convocation address Wednesday, and it has been a common theme across his speeches in the past few years, which frequently refer to the Vision 2020 strategic priorities.

Vision 2020 “paints a picture of what we want Belmont to look like in the future, and it’s a future that’s not so far away,” Fisher said at the Opening Convocation.

Belmont has grown not only in enrollment, but in faculty numbers, new additions to campus and endowments — and the plan is to keep growing, at least for the next two years.

8,318 students are enrolled at Belmont for the fall semester, including 1,634 new freshmen and 494 transfer students.

The university plans to continue increasing enrollment each year in order to reach a goal of 8,888 students by 2020, according to the Vision 2020 Strategic Priorities Document.

Even in the midst of this growth, the university wants to stay committed to a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, according to the document.

Since plans for Vision 2020 began in 2013, Belmont’s full-time faculty has increased from 331 to 361 individuals, along with an increase from 404 to 492 part-time faculty, according to the Belmont Office of Assessment and Institutional Research Factbook.

The university is also offering three new majors in fashion design, fashion merchandising and graphic design this fall. This will help accommodate the 110 students from O’More College of Design who joined the university after Belmont acquired O’More in the spring.

In the midst of the population growth at Belmont, many students have expressed concerns about a different kind of growth — increased cost of attendance.

Undergraduate tuition has increased from $21,270 in 2009 to $32,720 in 2018.

However, Belmont’s endowment fund is also growing to help offset those costs.

The fund grew by 17.96 percent over 2017’s one year return, said Steve Lasley, Belmont’s vice president of finance and operations.

This growth has allowed the university to increase the amounts of pre-existing scholarships and create 17 new endowed scholarships in the 2017-18 fiscal year, said Perry Moulds, Belmont’s vice president of development and external relations.

“At Belmont we’re moving at a really fast pace. We’re growing every year and adding more students, more buildings, more events. More, more, more,” said Fisher.

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This article written by Christiana Green. Contributing reporting from Bronte Lebo.

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