UC Regents to vote on nonresident enrollment policy, state audit findings

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The UC Board of Regents will convene later this week at UCSF Mission Bay from Tuesday to Thursday to vote on the establishment of a nonresident student enrollment policy, discuss the findings of a state audit of the UC Office of the President and review responses to the UC Graduate Student Well-Being Survey.

If the proposed nonresident student enrollment policy is approved, beginning in fall 2018, campuses will be capped at 18 percent nonresident student enrollment unless their 2017-18 undergraduate student body already has a rate exceeding that level. At those campuses, nonresident enrollment would be capped at no more than the levels from 2017-18.

“I understand the reality that the cap needs to be put into place so that the state legislature will hand over some of the withheld funding,” said ASUC Senator-elect and campus international student Taehan Lee. “However, it would be very sad if we had to kick international students off our campus just so our university can get out of debt.”

The proposed nonresident student enrollment policy is related to a provision of the state’s Budget Act of 2016, which required the regents to “adopt a policy that specifies a limit on the number of nonresident students enrolled” as a condition for receiving $18.5 million to support UC enrollment growth.

Lee also responded to the sentiment that the UC, as a public university, has an obligation to prioritize the enrollment of in-state students over out-of-state and international students.

“This university, especially on Berkeley’s campus, has chosen to be an inclusive community for international students. UC Berkeley strives to be one of the world’s strongest universities,” Lee said. “It’s a path the university has already chosen to take. I don’t know how it plans on going back on this standard.”

The board will also discuss the findings of an April 25 audit report by California State Auditor Elaine Howle related to UCOP. In her audit report, Howle raised several issues related to the level of transparency in the UCOP budget process and university policies.

Howle’s findings include UCOP’s alleged failure to disclose $175 million in budget reserve funds, and UCOP’s alleged interference with campus responses to an audit survey. The audit report concludes with various recommendations for UCOP, the regents and the state legislature.

“(Board) Chair (Monica) Lozano said that the Board of Regents will embed those recommendations in the culture and practice of the university,” University of California Student Association President Ralph Washington Jr. said. “My understanding is that this discussion is to facilitate that in some way.”

Members of the board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee will also review survey responses to the UC Graduate Well-Being Survey, a survey administered to over 13,000 graduate students at all 10 UC campuses. The survey fielded responses regarding a variety of topics, including mental health, food security, financial confidence and career plans.

The campus Graduate Assembly, or GA, External Affairs Vice President Jonathan Morris said that the GA, in conjunction with the Berkeley Graduate Division, performed a similar campus survey in 2014, adding that it appeared the campus and UC-wide surveys had found similar results.

“(The UC survey) found that one-fourth of grad students had indicated that they were food insecure. That’s similar to what we know is happening on (the) Berkeley campus,” Morris said. “It’s not just a Berkeley problem. It’s not surprising that it’s a systemwide issue.”

Washington Jr. said he would not be surprised to see students from various UC campuses in attendance at the upcoming meeting.

“I think it’s been clear that students are willing to invest the time and energy to speak out when it’s important to do so,” Washington Jr. said. “This is a conversation that concerns students very much.”

Bobby Lee is a News Editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.