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University of Massachusetts enrollment reaches record level; trustees approve $3.8 billion capital plan

AMHERST — Enrollment at the University of Massachusetts is projected to reach 71,988 students this fall, a record for the five-campus system, President Robert L. Caret said Wednesday.

The projected enrollment figure represents 1, 214 additional students or a 1.7 percent increase over enrollment last fall, Caret said at a UMass Board of Trustees meeting in Amherst.

He said the new students’ high school grade point averages and freshman SAT scores are rising, which reflects well on UMass.

“Students know that when they walk through our doors, they will be guaranteed a high quality, affordable education,” Caret said in a statement.

Enrollment at UMass has steadily climbed over the past six years, rising from 61,034 students in the fall of 2007 to the projected 71,988, an increase of 18 percent. Over the past decade, UMass student enrollment has risen by 14,519 students — or 25 percent — from the 57,469 students who were enrolled in the fall of 2003.

Applications are also increasing, UMass officials said. The four UMass campuses that admit undergraduate students — the medical school in Worcester does not — received 73,058 applications, a 5.4 percent increase over the 69,294 applications received the previous year, according to the university’s statement.

In other business, the UMass Board of Trustees approved a capital plan that authorizes spending up to $3.8 billion on campus construction and renovation projects over the next five years.

The spending includes 184 UMass projects to improve infrastructure, research, teaching and learning, and student housing and student life. The capital plan projects the university paying for about 72 percent of the work and the state the remaining 28 percent.

Among the projects are in Amherst, $12.6 million for repairs to Machmer Hall; Boston, $12.5 million for renovations to Healey Library; Dartmouth, $11.4 million for the purchase of the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River;· Lowell, $10 million for improvements to campus athletics and recreation facilities, including projects needed as a result of the move to Division 1 in all sports; and UMass Medical School, $15.5 million to upgrade research and lab facilities.

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