Saturday, May 30

Budget cuts prompt University of California to decrease in-state enrollment

Because of pressures from state budget cuts, the University of California will decrease in-state enrollment by 2,500 students for the 2010-2011 academic year.

This academic year, the UC was over-enrolled by 14,000 students, which means that the UC did not receive state funding for these students, said Sylvia Hurtado, chair of the UC Academic Senate Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools. The UC will still be over-enrolled next year, but it is trying to minimize this number.

Darnell Hunt, chair of the UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, said that although UCLA will probably reduce the number of students it accepts, there will not be any major changes to its admissions policies.

Only minor changes in the baseline GPA, test scores and other eligibility requirements might occur, making it more difficult for students to be admitted.

“We are trying to keep cuts as low as possible so more people can benefit from a UC education,” Hurtado said. “But we need to find a way to support ourselves with fewer state resources.”

Each UC campus is now in the process of finding its own solution to the over-enrollment problem.

UC Berkeley plans to decrease 2010-2011 in-state enrollment by about 15 percent and increase nonresident enrollment by about 12 percent, according to a UC Berkeley Undergraduate Enrollment Task Force.

Because nonresidents pay significantly higher fees than in-state students, these changes will increase Berkeley’s revenues by about $7 million, according to the task force.

But, according to the task force, this will also result in an approximate 1.3 percent decrease in underrepresented students. This is because nonresidents tend to be less diverse than in-state students, Hurtado said.

However, UCLA has not made any definitive policy changes yet, said Vu Tran, director of admissions and relations with schools.

“We hope to have decisions about enrollment made in late December,” Tran said.

Hunt said he will not be surprised if a policy similar to Berkeley’s is discussed at UCLA, but he said it is difficult to anticipate the UCLA CUARS’s response.

“If our committee were to approve such a policy it would not be done unilaterally. Personally, I’m not in favor,” Hunt said.

The committee is committed to maintaining campus diversity, Hunt said.

“It is clear that increasing out-of-state and international students has a negative impact on underrepresented students,” Hunt said. “Diversity is always an important goal. In anything we do, we take that into account.”

During the summer, the BOARS sent all UCs a set of principles on nonresident enrollment.

The document stresses the importance of providing an education primarily to California residents while maintaining diversity.

“UC’s undergraduate enrollment decisions should strive to maximize educational quality and diversity, and to protect accessibility and affordability for California residents,” the BOARS stated in the document.

Campuses also cannot use state funds to recruit out-of-state applicants, Hurtado said.

This means that Berkeley’s plan is not feasible for all UC campuses because not all campuses have the funds to recruit out-of-state students, Hurtado said.

However, all campuses are looking for ways to allow students to graduate faster so more students can enroll in the UC system, Hurtado said.

UCLA, for example, has adopted Challenge 45, in which departments are trying to decrease their required upper division requirements to 45 units.

“The UC is here for the good of the state of California. Whatever policies we make, we make sure they are consistent with our mission,” Hunt said.

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