University of California campuses are struggling to maintain their enrollment standards as the Fall 2011 application deadline approaches.
In order to cope with its budget deficit, UCSB has drastically altered traditional admissions patterns. While 4,587 freshmen were enrolled at the university in 2009-10 — the largest incoming class in UCSB history — almost 1,000 less students comprised this year’s class.
Additionally, the university will enroll 1,450-1,500 transfer students this year, as opposed to 1,871 enrolled in 2009.
In recent years, budget cuts have had a debilitating impact on her department, UCSB Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson said.
“[The Office of Admissions has] been cut about 40 percent over the last couple of years, we have many, many fewer staff than we did a few years ago and we’re going to many fewer schools,” Van Gieson said. “Our focus is on in-state students, although we have begun this year to reach out to non-residents.”
Furthermore, Van Gieson said, many UC campuses have been forced to cut back on admissions in order to conserve resources for their current students.
Van Gieson said last year’s record-high 32 percent fee hike created an obstacle for this year’s recruitment process.
“I know many students were impacted this year and also told us that because of last year’s fee increases, it was exceedingly difficult for them and their families to afford a UC education,” Van Gieson said. “The fact is, with the price tag going up and up it certainly affects at least a certain group of students. Whether that will depress the yield on our admission offers, I’m not yet sure. I couldn’t think that a fee increase would help.”
Ricardo Vazquez, UC Office of the President ethnic media director, said the UC wants to enroll more out-of-state students to compensate for the lack of in-state students.
“All of our campuses have expressed desire to increase enrollment for non-residence students,” Vazquez said. “These students bring a cultural diversity to the campuses. They pay non-resident tuition of about $20,000 more than residents, which will fund needs of students for the campuses.”
Although the university intends to admit fewer students, UCSB has still attended 112 college fairs and sent representatives to 324 schools since the beginning of the school year.
“Each year we talk to about 40,000 through school visits and college fairs, 35,000 through campus visits and open house, 1,000 through special events (receptions) and 5,000 through advocacy efforts (applicant follow-up),” Van Gieson wrote in an e-mail.