The UC Santa Barbara Associated Students Senate passed a resolution on Feb. 1 in favor of raising the amount of units students can register for during G.O.L.D. pass times to 16 units during Pass 2.
Currently, the unit registration cap for Pass 1 is 10, Pass 2 is 15 and Pass 3 is 21 — most classes are four units, meaning students can only sign up for two classes during Pass 1. Prior to October 2022, Pass 1 and 2 allowed 12 and 16 units, respectively.
Third-year economics and history double major and university-owned Off-Campus Senator Nathan Lee authored a ‘Resolution in Support of Restoring Unit Registration Cap And Increase In Course Offerings,’ advocating for the unit registration cap to be raised in order to improve students’ access to classes required to graduate.
“We, the 73rd Senate Assembled, positionally support and empower the dean of undergraduate education, Professor Michael Miller, to restore the undergraduate registration unit cap for pass two back to 16 units,” the resolution reads.
According to the resolution, raising the number of units able to be registered per pass time would help more students graduate on time and raise average enrollment.
“The school justifies [lowering pass one and pass two units] as an equity policy for incoming freshmen, but such policy only obscures the real underlying problem of an inadequate amount of introductory classes and over enrollment,” the resolution reads.
Lee said he presented the resolution to Interim Dean of Undergraduate Education Michael Miller, who turned down the proposed unit registration raise as an insufficient solution.
“He said having a higher unit cap could harm the efforts of students who have a slightly later pass time, but statistics show that having a lower cap isn’t the solution to the problem,” Lee said in an interview with the Nexus.
Miller did not respond to immediate requests for comment.
UCSB receives $8,356 in state funding per full-time-equivalent student — a measurement of enrolled student credit units — and lost 570 full-time-equivalent students from Fall Quarter 2019 to Spring Quarter 2022, according to a presentation from the Office of Undergraduate Education obtained by the Nexus. The loss totals $4,762,920 in state funding.
“The recent decline of unit registration from last year has cost the university around $4 million in funding from the state government, which is extremely concerning because there will be less resources for students,” Lee said in an interview with the Nexus.
The lower registration cap also impacts students under the Disabled Students Program, Lee said, who only have priority registration with Pass 1 and face a more limited pass time during Pass 2.
International students face challenges under the unit cap as well, according to first-year political science student and International Student Senator MingJun Zha, who seconded the resolution. Unit caps make it difficult for students to graduate early, Zha said, and many international students look to early graduation as a cost-efficient academic plan.
“I don’t live in a school facility, but have a meal plan and health insurance from UCSB. The total for my spring quarter bill is 16,431.72$, yet the non-residential supplement itself is 9,918$,” Zha said in a statement to the Nexus. “On average, an international student will spend at least 65,000$ a year studying at UCSB, so a large portion of us are hoping that we can graduate early to save some money for our family.”
Lee said feedback for the bill has been “overwhelmingly positive,” and it was passed unanimously by the Senate during its Feb 1. meeting.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Feb. 16, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.