The University of California is expected to adopt a budget plan Friday that will add 10,000 new slots for resident students over the next three years.
On Thursday, the finance committee of UC’s governing board approved the proposal, sending it to a vote before the entire Board of Regents. The plan, which was unveiled last week, aims to enroll 5,000 more Californians next fall across UC’s nine undergraduate campuses, allowing the university to receive a $25 million incentive set aside in this year’s state budget. An additional 2,500 spots would follow in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.
UC intends to pay for the enrollment growth through the additional tuition revenue generated by those students and a series of state funding increases slated to kick in over the next three years, as well as with supplemental fees from 3,000 more nonresident slots that will also be added over the same period. The elimination of a controversial financial aid program for out-of-state and international students will help bridge the funding sources.
The regents were generally supportive of the budget plan, but they pushed the university to focus more on several related issues that were not explicitly addressed in the proposal, including how it would hire enough faculty to teach the new students. Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley called on UC to use the enrollment growth to expand diversity in the system, where Latino and black students are generally underrepresented.
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“I hope we take this as an opportunity to really think about admissions, to really think about how we find talent in the neighborhoods throughout California, and give those students an opportunity to succeed,” he said.
Student regent Avi Oved said he would vote for the plan, but he criticized it as a hasty political move that could devalue the quality of education at the university and failed to address issues of affordability that many current students are already struggling with.
“Where are we going to put them?” he said. “I think it’s fair to pose this question to the politicians in Sacramento, who pressured UC to dissolve nonresident financial aid to support this aggressive enrollment plan knowing this is beyond our capacity.”