University of California President Janet Napolitano is seeking the permission of the system's governing board to enroll an additional 5,000 in-state undergraduate students next fall across the network's nine campuses.
"The University of California is meeting the challenge of educating as many students as it possibly can to meet, and solve, the challenges of the future," Napolitano said. "We are committed to sustaining increased access to our campuses and the world-class education they offer."
The request was made public earlier this week as background material announced for the coming Board of Regents meeting. If approved, the additional placements would boost in-state enrollment by 10%, the largest increase in at least 10 years, writes Lisa Leff for The Sacramento Bee.
Of the estimated 67,000 students who enrolled at the school either as freshmen or transfer students last fall, slightly more than 49,000 were from California.
The system has been receiving pressure from lawmakers to increase the number of slots available to California residents, as concerns continue to mount that campuses are enrolling too many out-of-state students who pay higher tuition in an effort to boost their budgets.
An additional $25 million was set aside in the state's budget this year for the University of California system — if it registers an additional 5,000 in-state students by the 2016-17 academic year.
That money would cover half of what the increase in enrollment would cost. Estimates from the university suggest that $10,000 per year not covered by tuition is spent on educating each student who attends the school. An additional $25 million would be provided by UC by ending the practice of awarding state financial aid to students from other states or countries.
Tuition for out-of-state students would increase by 8%. These students would then pay $39,975 compared to $12,291 for residents of California.
Low-income students currently enrolled at the school would not be affected by the plan to put an end to state grants. However, future students would not be eligible to receive them. The new budget proposal suggests that the school system will save $14 million next year.
The system also plans to seek another $6 million in state funding to enroll 600 more graduate students in 2016-17, and will make a push to continue that increase at a proportionate rate over the next two years.
A boost to the graduate program is important to the success of the overall plan. As faculty members are added to handle the additional load of undergraduates, more graduate students would be necessary to aid in research as well as to help run discussion groups and lab session, writes Larry Gordon for The Los Angeles Times.
The budget proposal is slated to be considered by the UC Board of Regents on November 19-20. At the same time, it will take a closer look at recommendations that the undergraduate tuition level remain the same for in-state students. Tuition for these students has not changed since the 2011-12 school year.