There is an increasing demand for education of women in the programs offered at Virginia Tech, and it will have to be considered in future development plans, the school's board of visitors said Monday.
In a meeting at the Hotel Roanoke, the board adopted a policy statement which also stressed needs for strengthening the graduate program and expanding VPI facilities in general to accommodate the growing number of qualified Virginia high school graduates.
Emphasis was given to the need for improving the quality of the Blacksburg school's curriculum, Harry C. Wyatt of Roanoke, the board's rector, said.
But any increase in the facilities, Wyatt asserted, will depend on the availability of funds.
The broad policy statement was issued, a spokesman said, because of a request from the state budget bureau for the information in order to facilitate planning for the next six years.
VPI officials have set no figure for maximum enrollment. The development council, whose recommendations were considered by the board at its meeting here, had urged that no arbitrary limitation be placed on total enrollment.
"The increasing number of qualified Virginia high school graduates will necessarily result in substantial growth in the enrollment of VPI, and the board accepts its increasingly significant obligation to the state subject to the availability of funds," the board stated.
Enrollment this year should be about 7,000 with the present figure being about 6,500. In recent years the number of dormitory rooms has been expanded with new construction at VPI presently awaiting approval of plans for a multi-story, high rise type of dormitory.
With the growing demand for women educated in VPI programs, the board said this will be taken into consideration.
Presently there are some 300 to 350 women students at VPI and they are housed in Hillcrest Hall, a dormitory built in the late 1930s. A Tech spokesman said more dormitory space will have to be provided if the number of women students is increased.
The policy statement called for offering graduate degrees in all areas where the need is demonstrated, while still keeping in mind the importance of strengthening the undergraduate program.
The board stated its desire to develop the facilities to accommodate students from Virginia high schools who have the ability to "complete successfully a quality college education."
"The VPI Board of Visitors recognizes that the mission of VPI is to provide the best possible resident instruction for the qualified youth of Virginia and strong research and extension programs to serve the needs of the commonwealth," the statement said.
Virginia Tech, like other Virginia educational institutions, has found itself faced with a constantly increasing number of applicants. Space limitations have resulted in the toughening of admissions requirements in recent years.
At present Virginia Tech accepts roughly those students in the upper half of their high school graduating classes, a VPI spokesman said.
Dr. T. Marshall Hahn Jr., VPI president, was unable to attend the session. He is presently at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond for minor surgery.
No specific proposals were advanced by the board of visitors nor was there any mention of the community college program.