Texas A&M University announced plans Wednesday to more than double its current engineering student enrollment to 25,000 by 2025.

A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said during the last school year more than 10,000 students applied for the 1,600 undergraduate slots available at the Dwight Look College of Engineering. He said the students who graduate are highly sought after from the top ranked school.

"As a land grant institution, we are taking measures to provide access to a high quality engineering education for more students to keep our nation competitive in the global landscape," Sharp said.

A new initiative "25 by 25" aims to improve instruction and student opportunities, according to M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. She said curricula will be enhanced through technology-enabled learning, and an extensive professor of practice program will be established for industry leaders to return to the classroom. The plan also includes building new laboratories and classrooms and an effort to improve retention rates.

"We are looking at a model that ultimately leverages our existing resources to deliver a high-quality education in a cost effective manner," Banks said. Currently there are 11,000 graduate and undergraduate engineering students.

S. Shariq Yosufzai, a 1974 graduate of the engineering program, is now a vice president of Chevron. She said she is excited about the potential of the "25 by 25" initiative because as chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce, she witnessed how investment in higher education can positively impact a state. She said in the 1950s California made investments and the state then became the center of technology and innovation in the world.

"This 25 by 25 initiative could do the same thing for the state of Texas," Yosufzai said.

Currently, 11,000 engineering students are enrolled, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and eighth in graduate enrollment in the country.

Texas A&M President Bowen Loftin also hopes to make the engineering school more accessible. He said the Texas Workforce Commission has projected the need for engineers entering the workforce will increase over the next 12 years. Texas has a need for more graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

"The demand for engineering education at Texas A&M has never been higher," Loftin said. "Texas A&M is stepping forward to meet this critical need for our state and nation."