Courtesy of UC
Courtesy of UC

During the weekend of November 8, at a recent Town Hall event in Los Angeles, UC President Janet Napolitano spoke about increasing in-state undergraduate enrollment by as much as 10,000 in the next three academic years. The proposal, which stemmed from public complaints over the rising ranks of other states, aims to bolster the status of California students throughout the nation.

The plan is slated to increase UC undergraduate admissions by as much 5,000 in the next school year. In the following two years, there would be subsequent student increases of 2,500 and 2,500 altogether throughout all nine UC campuses. According to the LA Times, the recent UC increases of non-California undergraduates would also continue at a slower pace.

To enact next year’s plan, $25 million is being granted to the University by the California Legislature. However, that only covers half the cost of the 5,000 student increase; the UC would have to raise another $25 million on its own. Then, the university would continue to seek funding from the governor and state legislature for the additional students in the next two years. Those funds, however, have not yet been approved; UC officials are assuming that the legislature will “continue to support access for California students,” Napolitano said in a telephone interview with the LA Times.

Despite efforts to increase enrollment, the UC lacks resources to accommodate those students. Napolitano emphasized that all nine UC campuses would enroll a significant amount of students in spite of capacity concerns. For more campuses like UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz, which hosts only 6.7 students per acre and 8.9 students per acre, respectively, this is not a pressing issue. UC Riverside, on the other hand has a much more crowded campus with almost 18 students per acre, which complicates the campus logistics. However, Emily Engelschall, a representative from the UCR Admissions Office, assures that the university is prepared for the incoming students.

“The campus has a long-range enrollment plan that is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure future expected enrollment is in alignment with available campus resources,” Engelschall says.

In the coming years, out-of-state UC applicants may be increasingly absent from that expected enrollment. The plan suggested by Napolitano calls for the university to raise $25 million independent of the government. To acquire those funds, the university intends to gradually discontinue UC and state aid for high school applicants not from California. The cuts, which are projected to amount to more than $14 million, could spell trouble for non-residents applying to UC Riverside.

Engelschall elaborates, “Last year’s admit rate for the freshman population was 51.26 percent. We had a total of total of 4434 (8650 total) nonresident freshman students. It is difficult to predict what changes might occur with this population for the coming year. As of today, there are too many unknowns to include factors such as the number of applicants we will receive during the November filing period …”

The subject will be discussed at the next UC Regents meeting, which is scheduled to take place in San Francisco from Nov. 18 through 20.