The UC Board of Regents discussed the proposed state budget and the undergraduate application review process during yesterday’s meeting at UC San Diego.
UC Vice President for Budget Patrick Lenz proposed methods for coping with the potential $500 million cut in state funding to the university while the Committee on Educational Policy suggested implementing a holistic undergraduate application review process. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom — who vocally opposed the governor’s proposed cuts — and state schools’ Superintendent Tom Torlakson were among those in attendance yesterday.
Among Lenz’s suggestions were reducing the UC’s financial aid budget by 12 percent, increasing student fees, laying off 1,000 employees and admitting 4,400 non-resident students in place of California residents.
However, Lenz said no final decisions have been made.
“I’m not prepared to offer you options, I’m prepared to familiarize you with the choices you have to make,” Lenz said. “I don’t want any of my friends in here going out of here tweeting that there are solutions from the Office of the Budget.”
According to Regent Rex Hime, the UC needs to investigate alternative methods of generating revenue to maintain its quality of education.
“We keep hurting ourselves,” Hime said. “We have to look outside the box. We can’t afford to be a weakened and crippled UC system. We won’t be the same UC system we are a decade from now.”
UC Student Association President Claudia Magaña, a third-year politics, sociology and Latin American studies major at UC Santa Cruz, said students refuse further tuition hikes and will make their views heard at a rally in Sacramento next month.
“We are all aware of the drastic cuts proposed and we are furious that the governor would take back the gains made in funding higher education over the last year,” Magaña said. “On Feb. 28, students will be at the capitol rallying, lobbying and ensuring our participation in the California budget.”
The endorsement of a holistic application review process — which would include an individualized reading of each application and consideration of personal challenges each applicant faces — also sparked a debate.
UC Director of Undergraduate Admissions Susan Wilbur said the system will provide a more in-depth look at each applicant.
“We believe that the holistic model is the best practice because of the wealth of data considered in each application,” Wilbur said. “This is the process that has been used at Berkeley for many years and at L.A. since 2007. It is also the review process that is used by many of the finest universities around the country.”
However, a number of Regents expressed concern about the proposal.
Regent George Marcus said the method may prove to be inconsistent, overly subjective and better suited to private universities.
“No one can argue with the spirit of the concept, but in reality this is a very charged issue,” Marcus said. “The perception of this is going to be troublesome. You can say all these wonderful things, but you’ve also said it’s inconsistent from campus to campus and you’ve also said there’s subjectivity. We are a public institution, not a private institution.”
UC Provost Lawrence Pitts, on the other hand, said numerous public universities around the country currently use the method successfully.
“There are other public universities that use holistic review now, such as the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia,” Pitts said. “From that standpoint, I think there’s a good track record supporting this view.”
Student Regent Jesse Cheng encouraged the board to seriously consider the method.
“Students have been fighting for holistic admissions for years,” Cheng said. “This process is endorsed by one of the most important stakeholders in this process — the applicants. Students want to know that their application has been read by a human being at least once.”
A group of UC workers, retirees, students and community members will attend tomorrow’s third and final meeting to protest the $2.1 million in salary increases and bonuses for UC executives approved by President Mark G. Yudof in December.