Citing a shortfall in state funding, the University of California Board of Regents agreed last week to reduce resident freshman enrollment by 2,300 at six campuses for the 2009 10 school year, but the reduction will not impact UCLA. Under the plan, California resident freshman enrollment will be reduced at six campuses–Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Davis and Santa Cruz. According to the UC president's office, freshman enrollment will remain constant at UCLA and Berkeley, and it could grow at the Merced campus.
"It is an excruciating decision to reduce opportunity for students in any way, but the lack of sufficient state funding leaves us no choice," UC President Mark G. Yudof said.
"This actually is a modest reduction in that it aims to bring our enrollments into line with our resources over several years rather than in a single year.
"It also enhances access through the community college transfer route, which is a path to the university that needs to be widened. In future years, of course, we hope the state will be able to focus on investing in California's human capital and provide the resources necessary for expanded opportunity in public higher education."
In 2008-09, resident freshman enrollment at the UC system was 37,600. That number will be cut to about 35,300 for 2009-10 under the plan approved January 14. Transfer enrollments from California community colleges will be allowed to increase by 500 students, to a total of about 16,300. The board also approved a salary freeze for 285 top UC administrators.
The freeze will remain in place through the 2009-10 school year. The president of the University of California Student Association blasted the state funding cuts that led to the regents' decision.
"With increasing high school graduating class sizes, many hardworking high school students will be turned away from top UCs that they are otherwise qualified to attend," said Lucero Chavez, a law student at UC Berkeley.
"Today the most dramatic increase in desire to attend the UC comes from communities of color and low-income communities, which are historically underserved by higher education."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell also encouraged the Legislature to find a solution to the state's budget crisis that does not cut funding for education.
"I understand that the University of California needs to live within its means," he said.
"However, I am deeply troubled that student access to UC campuses will be more limited in 2009-10 in spite of the strong annual growth in the number of eligible, first time students who are graduating from California's high schools."