Phase I enrollment unit cap raised from 10.5 to 13.5 units

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The UC Berkeley Office of the Registrar announced Friday an increase in the unit cap for Phase I of undergraduate enrollment for continuing students from a hard cap of 10.5 units to a hard cap of 13.5 units.

The new cap will allow undergraduates to meet the minimum unit requirement to qualify as a full-time student by Phase I. The cap includes units from waitlisted classes, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff, and the change will be effective as of fall 2017 course enrollment. Ratliff added that the Phase II unit cap would remain at 17.5 units, after it was changed in spring 2017 from the previous 16 units.

“It is our understanding is that advisers want students to be able to enroll full-time and that by enrolling in all their units in a single session, they will not need to consult their advisers as often,” Ratliff said in an email.

Emerald Templeton, director of computer science undergraduate affairs in the College of Letters and Science, said the change will have a positive impact on students and advisors alike. Templeton said that with the cap increase, advisors will be able to manage schedules with greater ease and declared students will have the opportunity to get the classes of their choice.

Templeton said she believes the increased unit cap on class enrollment will not increase competition in impacted majors such as computer science.

“We provide priority to freshmen and transfers in lower division courses. … For upper division classes, declared (students) need access to those courses,” Templeton said. “There will be competition, but that’s something of the norm.”

Ratliff also said in his email that upper division students and continuing students are assigned earlier enrollment appointments than new undergraduates. According to Ratliff, with the new changes, departments and programs can still reserve seats for new students in their courses.

Templeton called the change “timely” because it was introduced about one year after the new Student Information System in CalCentral, which integrated all previous student information systems into one, streamlining information for students and advisors.

Eric Yang, a campus sophomore studying statistics and economics, said the new 13.5 unit cap will help him get all of the classes he needs for his double major. According to Yang, in previous semesters, he had to prioritize certain classes for Phase I and save the remaining classes for Phase II.

But Amma Sarkodee-Adoo, a campus freshman majoring in political science, said the unit increase could “go either way,” depending on the time of students’ Phase I. Sarkodee-Adoo said she believes students with earlier Phase I dates will have an advantage, while those with later Phase I dates will encounter difficulty because fewer spots will be available in the courses they want.

Stephanie Hernandez, a campus sophomore and intended interdisciplinary studies major, said she appreciates that students can enroll in enough units in Phase I alone to qualify as a full-time student. Like Sarkodee-Adoo, however, Hernandez added that she is worried that students with earlier Phase I enrollment times could “take over” most of the classes.

“My main concern would be people getting equal opportunity to sign up for stuff,” Hernandez said.

Contact Francesca Munsayac at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fcfm_dc.