This is not a big secret:
From Houston Chronicle article 7-5-05 --
A question of size
The 93-year-old university is not known for rapid change. The debate over its size — is it too small to be great, or is it great because it is small — predates Leebron and Gillis.
With roughly 2,900 undergraduates, Rice is the smallest of the nation's top research institutions and the second-smallest participant in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's highest level of competition, Division I-A.
Leebron and the trustees are willing to expand the student body, perhaps to 3,800 undergraduates. Such growth would require at least two new residential colleges and a hiring boom to maintain its 5-1 student-faculty ratio.
"In going from tiny to small is a great challenge," said Bob Stein, a political scientist and dean of the School of Social Sciences.
Leebron said his intention is to keep Rice smaller than Stanford and Duke, universities that are more than twice its size and consistently ranked better. But he thinks the current size is "perhaps an important obstacle to further achievement" and that a larger student body would provide extra resources needed to lift some academic departments to national prominence.
"Rice is always going to be small," said Crownover, the board chairman. "The question is, what is the adverb we use in front of small?"
In a way, Leebron wants to move Rice from labels such as "hidden gem" and "the best value in higher education." He would prefer the university to be at the forefront, and to be known for more than the quality of education in relation to the cost of tuition. http://www.uh.edu/ednews/2005/hc/200...05leebron.html
Another recent article regarding Rice:
Houston Chronicle 8-21-05 --
Rice received a record 8,106 applications for admission last fall, producing a freshman class of 727 students. But the university's inability to attract more applications this year troubled administrators, who want the private research institution to be a destination for top students from Texas and beyond.
About 53 percent of Rice's undergraduates are from Texas. David Leebron, the university's president, has said he wants 60 percent of the student body to come from out of state. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...olitan/3318287