Strictly enforced 16-unit cap leaves students unable to enroll in phase 2 classes

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Under the new UC Berkeley course enrollment system CalCentral, there is now a hard cap on enrolling in more than 16 units, which has left some students unable to add their desired classes.

Through Tele-BEARS, the former enrollment system, students were able to enroll in a “soft” limit of 16 units — which allowed anyone under the limit to enroll in an additional class, according to Adam Ratliff, communications manager for student affairs. Ratliff added that the cap policy was originally implemented because students were enrolling in classes they were indecisive about taking or planning to drop, making it difficult for other students to secure seats.

“In short, the campus decided to limit the number of units a student could enroll in during Phase II to improve availability of seats for all students and better utilization of those seats,” Ratliff said in an email.

Rising junior and intended computer science major Ivette Flores said the newly enforced hard cap has not only affected her ability to enroll in the classes she needs for her major, but also her prospects for receiving financial aid. Flores is currently enrolled in only five units and waitlisted in a total of eight, putting her at risk for no longer being considered a full-time student in the fall and making her ineligible for financial aid.

Flores also expressed frustration at the inability to add classes that are difficult to get into, such as language and P.E. classes, which makes it even more challenging to enroll in the minimum number of units.

“Honestly, I can see what they wanted to make it a hard cap so that people didn’t sign up for classes as a buffer for waitlist classes, but they didn’t think about the language classes and they didn’t think about the PE classes when enforcing the cap,” Flores said in an email. “And now we can’t even sign up for enough units to be ‘Full-Time’ until the adjustment period.”

For some juniors and seniors, the unit cap conflicts with time constraints that come with having to take specific classes to graduate, according to incoming junior transfer student and intended media studies major Jacqueline Yu. She said in an email that because the adjustment comes at a later time, students are at risk of losing a class they need for their major.

Olivia Flechsig, academic director in the Student Advocate’s Office, said she believed that through the unit cap the administration is attempting to help students better navigate the waitlist process.

According to rising senior and former ASUC chief technology officer Mihir Patil, though the reasoning behind the administration’s decision is valid, students are now limited in their opportunities to take other classes.

“It forces us to prioritize more, which for the community is actually really good because now people don’t needlessly add courses to their shopping cart,” Patil said. “On the flip side, it limits our abilities to explore.”

Contact Kailey Martinez-Ramage at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @kmartinezramage.