A program designed to expand the University of California admissions process and create another option for high-performing California community college students to gain admittance to the UC has been delayed due to a lack of state funding.

The Dual Admissions program, proposed in September 2000 by UC President Richard Atkinson was originally intended to affect the incoming class of 2003. Because the State Legislature recessed its session last Saturday without granting the money for the program, the University of California Board of Regents is obligated to wait until the Legislature reconvenes in January before it can move forward with the program.

The Regents worry about one potential flaw in the program, other than the delay, UC Spokesperson Brad Hayward said.

“We’re seeing one challenge now-that we are trying to implement a new program at a time when the state’s fiscal resources have been substantially reduced,” Hayward said. “We’re committed to the program, however, and we hope to see it implemented in the not-too-distant future.”

The Board of Regents originally requested $2.5 million from the State Legislature to pay for the program’s expenses. Steve Handel, Associate Director for Outreach and Student Affairs, said he believes the $2.5 million is a lower figure than what the program will actually need for implementation. Handel said President Atkinson does not want to begin the program until he is sure to obtain all appropriate resources.

“It’s not a program you can do on the sly,” he said.

The majority of the money would be used to put trained UC counselors on the campuses of all California community colleges, Hayward said. The counselors will be responsible for facilitating a smooth transfer process for students planning on transferring to a UC.

“The Dual Admissions program will do two things: It will bring in more highly qualified students who can benefit from the UC experience, and it will strengthen the transfer program between UC and the community colleges,” Hayward said. “Transfer is an important function of California’s public higher education system because it gives students another path to a four-year degree. Dual Admissions is a way of making the transfer process work even better.”

The Dual Admissions program grants California high school seniors who are between the top four and 12 percent of their graduating class, based on grades achieved in UC-required courses, admission to a UC after they complete a transfer program at a California Community College.

Once implemented, the dual admissions system would be one of four possible ways to gain admission into the University of California system. Current UC admittance programs include the Eligibility in the Local Context Program, general admission based on grades, test scores and a written essay, and the Transfer Student Program.

Chancellor Henry Yang said he expects the program to have a positive impact.

“The research analysis shows that the program will result in an increase in students who would not have traditionally considered UC, many of whom are low-income and underrepresented minority students,” he said. “An effort such as the Dual Admissions program would complement all of UCSB’s other efforts to attract a student body that is both academically excellent and diverse.”

UCSB is preparing in several ways for the new program.

“UCSB will identify a Dual Admissions Program Coordinator whose responsibilities will include overseeing and managing the admissions process for students identified by the program to ensure that these students successfully make the transition from community college to UCSB,” Yang said. “Key components of the program will be establishing an ongoing connection between each student and UCSB, providing mentoring, advising on course selection and ensuring preparation for UCSB in general and for the major in particular.”

UCSB’s acting Director of Admissions, Christine Van Gieson, said the appointed Dual Admissions Program Coordinator would be someone highly familiar with the transfer services department. She also said no further preparations for the program are currently being made due to funding delays.

Once funding is received, Betty Huff, the assistant vice chancellor of enrollment services management, said UCSB would form programs applicable to the campus.

“If the Dual Admissions Program were to happen we would establish a UCSB program that would include student mentoring, academic counseling, a database for tracking students and corresponding with them, publications to send out information and a link with counselors on the community college campuses,” she said. “We will do more or less depending on the amount of funding given to us by the State.”