As the implementation of the Minimum Cumulative Progress requirement looms, an Associated Students survey revealed that 41 percent of respondents remain unaware they may be obligated to take 15 units per quarter beginning this fall.

From a podium in the Arbor, the 2007-08 A.S. executive officers released the results of a survey regarding the MCP policy to a crowd of staff and students. The survey – which sought to discover students’ knowledge and understanding of the plan – appeared on this April’s A.S. Election ballot.

Last June, the university approved the MCP policy, which raised the minimum unit requirement from 12 units to 15 units.

However, the A.S. report showed that 41 percent of respondents had never heard of the MCP plan prior to the survey. Of those students familiar with the requirement, most claimed they could not meet the new requirement.

Additionally, the survey revealed that the heavier course load students have, the less likely they are to become involved in extracurricular activities.

The 2007-08 A.S. Executive Officers – President Stephanie Brower, Internal V.P. Matt Jackson, External V.P. of Local Affairs Lindsey Quock and External V.P. of Statewide Affairs Christine Byon – discussed several concerns with the policy, including the lack of student input in the approval process and the difficulty some may have in maintaining a heavier course load.

According to Quock, the MCP defeats the purpose of students taking Advanced Placement classes in high school.

“Because they are required to take 15 units, regardless of what requirements they have already fulfilled, students who took AP classes in high school for lighter course loads in college are going to have to take as many classes as those who haven’t taken any APs,” Quock said.

Additionally, while there is a waiver process for students seeking exemption from the MCP requirement, Brower said it is a complex and congested bureaucratic process.

“Students with 20 hours a week or more of either paid or unpaid work are eligible for a waiver,” Brower said. “Students have to first figure out that they can’t meet the MCP, how to fill out a waiver, apply for the waver online and get signatures from supervisors in every area they’re working. … Supervisors [then] have to figure out exactly how many hours students are going to work before the work period even begins. All this also needs to be done before students can register for classes.”

The policy, approved in June ’07 by UCSB’s Faculty Legislature, will require the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies to review each student’s progress every second quarter.

The office will then advise undergraduates who fall below cumulative unit requirements to seek academic counseling during their first infractions, but may have students dismissed from campus if they frequently fail their progress checks.

The policy decision followed studies by the Faculty Legislature that claim UCSB students take the smallest average course load system-wide – thus depriving the university of an extra $10 million from the UC Office of the President.

UC regulations state that each campus receives funding from the University based upon a standard known as the full-time equivalent ratio. Under this standard, the UC allocates funds based upon the number of undergraduate units for full-time students over the amount of full-time students, with a ratio cap of 1.0. Full-time students are considered as individuals who average 15 units per quarter.

Meanwhile, the 2007-08 A.S. President J.P. Primeau said the student body must continue to challenge the academic measure and carefully channel the new source of funding.

“A.S. will continue the fight in the Academic Senate and increase representation [on the Senate] next year,” Primeau said. “We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future without student representation. We also need to ensure that the money is spent on the most impacted areas.”