The UC Board of Regents considered relaxing the University’s system-wide enrollment reduction target for the 2010-11 school year during yesterday’s meeting at UC San Francisco.

The University had originally planned to cut back next year’s freshman class by 2,300 students — the 2009 freshman class was also reduced by 2,300 students — but discussed decreasing the number upon receiving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget. The board will meet again tomorrow for its last day of meetings at the Mission Bay community center.

However, UC Office of the President Vice President for Communications Lynn Tierney said enrollment targets will only be curtailed if the state receives enough federal funds to serve 5,121 students.

“One of the things still in jeopardy in the budget is the ability for the UC to fund students who are unfunded,” Tierney said. “[Almost] 15,000 students are unaccounted for in terms of state money, so we’ve asked for $51 million dollars for those students and that’s in jeopardy, so we may have to cut back on enrollment.”

According to a press release, the UC has implemented a system-wide waiting list for prospective students for the first time in its 142-year history. There are approximately 1,000 applicants currently on the list, the press release said.

The UC is set to receive over $3 billion in funding from the state. While this amounts to roughly $370 million more than last year’s distribution, the increase is a mere 40 percent of the $913 million requested by the UC in order to close its budget shortfall. Even with the additional funds proposed in Gov. Schwarzenegger’s budget, the UC will still have to manage a gap of $237 million.

In addition to enrollment issues, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the Board of Regents discussed ways of improving communication with state and federal lawmakers.

“We are also talking about how we can better communicate to legislators and officials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., as well as to the general public, the tremendous benefits that UC provides to our state and nation,” Yang said in an e-mail. “The message we must convey is that an investment in higher education is an investment in our future.”

The press release also said that UC President Mark Yudof is encouraging the University’s 200,000 advocates to reach out to state lawmakers to ensure their support of the UC’s budget request.

Celina Ayala, the Associated Students external vice president of statewide affairs, said this proposed collaboration between the Board of Regents and UC students should have occurred months ago, before the board approved to increase student fees by 32 percent.

“Students and Regents, together as a UC system, should have gone to the legislature and said this is what you’re doing to us and this is how we’re hurting. … The middle class is hurting the hardest. It’s just really hard.”

— Staff Report