As UC Santa Barbara’s Honors Program plans to re-evaluate priority registration for its students, future program participants could lose priority registration privileges in upcoming years.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, it is expected that the Academic Senate will likely re-evaluate priority registration for all eligible UCSB students who currently receive it — including athletes, ROTC students, students with young dependents and honors students — Scott Kassner, director of advising operations in the Division of Undergraduate Education, said in an email to the Nexus.
“Depending on the results of this review, there could be changes regarding priority registration for Honors students joining the program in 2021 and beyond, but those changes will not affect students already in the program” so long as they remain in good standing, Kassner continued.
Those unaffected include incoming freshmen and transfer students who were admitted to the Honors Program, along with students who are accepted after their freshman year for this summer and the summer of 2021, he added.
The possible change comes as programs are being evaluated for “consideration of equity and course accessibility for UCSB’s steadily increasing student population,” Kassner said.
David Lawrence, College of Letters and Science academic advisor, said in an email in April that the discussion of who benefits from priority registration has been a constant conversation among UCSB administrators as a result of increasing over-enrollment.
California’s state legislature mandated in November 2015 that all 10 UC campuses had to develop plans to accommodate a combined 10,000 new undergraduates by 2018, according to the University of California website.
UCSB has continued to increase its admission rates since 2015, which accumulated to an extra 3,000 students in 2019, according to UCSB’s fall enrollment data.
The university has already begun exploring options to accommodate future students and is looking to construct a new classroom building that could seat 2,000 students and would increase classroom capacity by 35%, the Nexus previously reported.
If state funding is approved, construction on the new classroom building is projected to be completed by Spring 2023.
While newly admitted freshmen and students currently in the program will still be able to benefit from priority registration, Kassner said, the fate of priority registration for future students is uncertain.
However, conversations regarding potential changes to the program “have been largely eclipsed by the more pressing concerns of delivering intellectually rigorous course content to our students amidst the COVID-19 outbreak,” Lawrence said.