UC system to enroll 1,400 additional undergraduate students in 2020-21 academic year

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The UC Board of Regents approved the UC system’s 2020-21 budget plan during its Thursday meeting, including a plan to increase undergraduate enrollment by 1,400 students in the next academic year.

The budget plan includes requests for enough state funding to eliminate the need for increases in tuition, the Student Services Fee or nonresident supplemental tuition in 2020-21, according to UC Office of the President, or UCOP, spokesperson Sarah McBride.

UCOP and the regents will not know if the requests for state funding will be met, however, until California Gov. Gavin Newsom releases his budget proposal in January 2020, according to McBride.

“If the proposal does not include the requested funding, the Regents will need to consider an adjustment to tuition and fees for next year in order to avoid campus cutbacks to core UC operations, such as instruction, academic advising, and student services,” McBride said in an email.

The UC also plans to increase graduate student enrollment by a total of 1,000 students. According to McBride, this reflects the UC’s multiyear plan to increase the number of graduate students systemwide by 4,000 between the 2018-19 and 2022-23 academic years.

ASUC External Affairs Vice President and UC Student Association President Varsha Sarveshwar expressed gratitude toward the regents for deciding to request state support before raising tuition.

“From my perspective, I’m really grateful to our leadership for making that decision,” Sarveshwar said. “This is a positive step the regents took last week in prioritizing state investment.”

Sarveshwar added that she is generally supportive of the decision to increase enrollment but stressed the importance of adequately funding growth. According to Sarveshwar, UC Berkeley has expressed concern about its ability to take in more students.

The UC is working with each campus to determine individual targets for enrollment growth, McBride said in an email.

According to Sarveshwar, hiring more faculty members and graduate students will be important if the UC enrolls more students. Sarveshwar added that the growth of large introductory classes has resulted in students struggling to enroll in classes they need to graduate.

Tuition and fees paid by additional students and state funding for enrollment growth allow campuses to hire teaching assistants and faculty members, according to McBride.

“Most funding for basic needs programs is provided directly by the State,” McBride said in an email. “UC campuses received $18.5 million in new, permanent State support for basic needs programs in 2019-20.”

With the 2020-21 budget, the regents approved the proposed $23 million request from the UC Student Association, or UCSA, for state funding for the Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships programs. These programs will address degree completion gaps at UC campuses through student initiation programs, outreach, recruitment and retention, according to Sarveshwar.

The regents also approved UCSA’s proposal for up to $20 million in requested state funding for investment in resources supporting undocumented students systemwide.

The request for up to $20 million in state funding will support “undocumented, foster youth, and formerly incarcerated students,” according to McBride.

“Those students lacked the opportunities their peers got in K-12,” Sarveshwar said. “They come with an opportunity gap. We emphasize these tailored programs because as the University enrolls more and more students, they feel less personal.”

Maya Akkaraju is a higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.