In an attempt to offset the next wave of impending budget cuts, the UC Board of Regents will convene this afternoon to consider curbing undergraduate enrollment and freezing the salaries of top administrators.
If approved, the proposed reduction in undergraduate enrollment would cut the number of new California resident freshmen the UC accepts by 2,300 for the 2009-10 academic year. However, only six campuses – UC Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara – would be required to curtail enrollment numbers. UC Berkeley and UCLA would meanwhile be exempt from the enrollment provisions.
In a press release, UC president Mark G. Yudof said although he is hesitant to restrict freshman enrollment UC-wide, the proposal is a necessary step to dampen the impact of the statewide budget cuts.
“I have always been reluctant to constrain freshman access to the university, but the absence of state funding for enrollment growth and continuing budget cuts have left us no choice if we are to protect the quality of the instructional program we offer,” Yudof said. “The enrollment reductions in the proposal are both modest and gradual and are intended to bring enrollment into closer alignment with our resources over a period of years.”
In lieu of an unexpected surge in applicants from California community colleges, transfer enrollments would also be exempt from the cuts. Under the proposal, the total number of transfer students would be permitted to increase by 500 students, while graduate enrollment would remain stagnant at the 2008-09 levels.
According to the UC Office of the President, the proposed cap on enrollment is necessary to protect academic excellence at the university and maintain the level of service students expect when they enroll at the UC.
Yudof stressed his commitment to helping qualified California community college students gain entrance to the university.
“As much as possible, I want to limit the disruption for students who have worked hard to make themselves UC-eligible,” Yudof said. “Also, as families and students face uncertainty during this severe economic downturn, we need to keep open cost-effective paths to UC, such as the community college transfer route.”
In addition to the enrollment freeze, the proposal on tomorrow’s agenda calls for a freeze in the salaries of 285 top UC administrators and for significant restrictions to be placed on the benefits of UC senior leadership.
Yudof said he was reluctant to enact such measures, but that current circumstances required action.
“These are extremely difficult times, and we must make difficult decisions,” said Yudof. “Although I regret very much the impact of these actions on our very dedicated and valuable employees, I believe they are consistent with our obligation as a public institution, and are warranted given the historic economic crisis confronting us.”