UC May Adopt Waitlist For Incoming Freshmen

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Analysis: Regents meeting January 20

Assistant University News Editor Mihir Zaveri talks to reporter Javier Panzar about the January 20 UC Regents meeting.

This podcast incorrectly stated that the UC Board of Regents cut Fall 2010 undergraduate admissions by 3,200 students. In fact, it was cut by 2,300 students.

 The Daily Californian regrets the error.

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Correction Appended

For the first time in history of the University of California, incoming freshmen may be waitlisted, said UC officials after Wednesday's meeting of the UC Board of Regents.

The waitlist is designed to give the university flexibility in deciding how many students to enroll for the 2010 school year. Enrollment figures may change due to the uncertainty of state funding.

The decision to increase enrollments is dependent on $51.3 million in the governor's proposed budget which would fund 5,121 out of around 14,000 currently unfunded enrollments.

Efforts to secure state funding for the University of California took center stage inside Wednesday's regents meeting held in San Francisco.

Regents and presenters to the board's committee on finance voiced concern about the feasibility of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's effort to reprioritize state funding for public higher education. Despite varying opinions, regents expressed the need for a coordinated lobbying effort directed at the state Legislature to guarantee more funding for the university.

"I think, once again, you have a budget you can't believe in," said UC Regent Richard Blum. "I don't think half the stuff is going to come true. We have to be up there (in Sacramento) as regents, as administrators and as students."

Earlier this month, Schwarzenegger proposed restoring $370 million to the university in his budget as well as a constitutional amendment that would guarantee at least 10 percent of the state's general fund to higher education.

Although the two proposals put the university in good standing as the budget process continues, both have substantial hurdles to clear before approval. Nonetheless, at least one regent expressed interest in rolling back the 32 percent student fee increase passed in November.

"If by some miracle we do get most of our budget restored, I would like to support a rollback in student fee increases," said Regent Leslie Schilling.

Others at the meeting said that the university should wait to consider rolling back fees until a substantial restoration of state funding materializes. Rex Hime, secretary of the alumni associations of the University of California and regent-designate, said the regents should wait before considering a fee rollback.

"I'm not ready to make a commitment to roll back student fees until we know what the funding situation is," he said.

The state is asking the federal government for $6.9 billion in funding. If the aid is not allocated, $51.3 million to fund the enrollment of 5,000 UC students may not be approved by the state.

The odds of California being singled out for additional federal funds are slim, according to Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project.

"Rather than ask for special treatment, which is likely to not be greeted warmly in Washington, California should come together with other states and say states in general need another round of recovery dollars," she said.

Despite that uncertainty, the regents agreed that an increased presence in the state capitol is vital for securing all of the $913 million requested from the state.

"We should be in touch with every legislator, particularly those who are up for re-election," said UC Regent Richard Blum. "(We need to) find out who is on our side and who is not on our side; and, if they are not on our side, find out how we can support their opponent."


Correction: Saturday, January 30, 2010
The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed 2010-11 state budget would allocate $53.4 to fund the enrollments of 5,121 additional UC students. In fact, the proposed budget would allocate $51.3 million to fund the enrollments.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Javier Panzar covers higher education.Contact him at [email protected]

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