UC Regents Discuss Increased Enrollment

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The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss today and tomorrow its continued efforts to prepare for the 60,000 extra students expected to enter the UC system over the next 10 years.

The agenda for the first board meeting since the turn of the century calls for discussion of Gov. Gray Davis' latest state funding proposal as well as an update on the development of UC Merced - the 10th and newest UC campus. It is scheduled to open its doors in 2005.

Davis unveiled a budget proposal earlier this month that includes a $328 million increase in funding for the UC system this year.

"The governor's budget is a very good budget for the university, both in terms of funding for basic university operation and funding for initiative, particularly university programs for K-12 schools," said UC spokesperson Brad Hayward.

A substantial part of the fund increase in Davis' budget would help the UC system in its efforts to accommodate the estimated 43 percent student increase - dubbed Tidal Wave II - into the UC system. University officials expect an increase of 60,000 new students by the year 2010.

Davis' budget proposal would allocate enough funding for approximately 4 percent of the anticipated increase in enrollment. The proposal would allow the UC system to accommodate an additional 6,000 new students.

"Tidal Wave II is 60,000 (students)," Hayward said. "(Accommodating 6,000) is a substantial and important part of that."

Besides funding, the regents have also been working on various efforts to accommodate the increased student influx. Regents serving on the Committee on Educational Policy are scheduled to present and discuss their progress and latest developments tomorrow.

"The university is looking at a variety of solutions for accommodating the enrollment group," Hayward said. "Each campus will consider a mix of solutions. Overall, the strategies include providing more instructional opportunities during the summer and continuing to expand our regular enrollments during regular semesters. There's no one single solution."

Among the other plans to tackle the student increase is the continued development of UC Merced. Davis' budget proposal allocates a significant amount of funding to capital projects, which includes projects on the new campus.

"The capital part of the budget is for facilities and it provides $14 million for planning and design of the first buildings of UC Merced," Hayward said.

The regents are also scheduled to examine factors related to academic underachievement in the UC system. According to UC spokesperson Terry Lightfoot, a number of professors are scheduled to give presentations on factors external to test scores and schools that may be affecting UC eligibility for certain students.

Lightfoot said white and Asian students tend to be more eligible for the UC system than their black or Latino counterparts. The regents hope to discuss and study what factors may contribute to this imbalance in student performance.

"The question you want to look at is what factors contribute to the differing degrees in which students become eligible to the University of California," Lightfoot said.

Through this discussion, they hope to determine and modify their outreach efforts, he added.

The governor's budget proposal was unveiled this month, after the UC Board of Regents sent its own budget proposal to Davis and the legislature last November. According to Hayward, the state legislature plans to work on its version of the budget over the next several months.

Each year, the state senate and assembly pass the final budget, and the university is expected to revise its budget plan accordingly around June or July.


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