Enrollment growth continues on a strong trajectory from close to 20,000 in 2014 (a record high) and is anticipated to eclipse 22,000 students during the planning period of this document. The economic impact of increased enrollment is estimated to increase by $175 million annually. Clearly, the University of Nevada, Reno is a key economic driver for the Reno area and northern Nevada.
It is recognized that several forces currently are influencing or likely are to significantly influence the development of the University. Over the next six years it is anticipated that enrollment will grow to and likely exceed 22,000 students; this, combined with growth in research programs, will strain the capacity of the University, both in terms of facilities and personnel. Limited resources from the state will most likely persist for the foreseeable future. This will necessitate an increasingly entrepreneurial business model as the University also works with legislators to demonstrate the value of the institution's contribution and the return that follows state investment.
First-generation students and those who are from diverse racial and cultural demographics will continue to be an increasing percentage of our community. Multidisciplinary initiatives that connect across two or more units will continue to grow in importance and significance, gain favor by funding agencies, and potentially set the University apart, as noted by the Faculty Senate's 2012 commission on "The Future of the University of Nevada, Reno." Major developments such as Nevada's designation as a major test site for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, Tesla's gigafactory, and the global challenge of cyber security will influence the University's educational and research programs. Global climate change will present challenges for life styles and economic development in Nevada, the driest state in the nation. Alternative modes of educational delivery will fundamentally influence the structure of higher education. Nevada's growing population will continue to generate demand for health-care providers.