The University of California has accepted a record 60,008 California residents as freshmen for the coming fall despite worries that cuts in state funding could lead to overcrowded campuses and tuition increases, officials said.
With more high school seniors vying and qualifying for a spot at a UC school, the university admitted a little more than three-quarters of all in-state students who applied, similar to last yearâ€™s in-state admissions rate of 77 percent, university officials said.
The admission offers to in-state freshmen beat last yearâ€™s total of 57,318, also a record, by about 4.7 percent and represent a 43 percent increase over the fall 2000 term. Officials said upholding UCâ€™s long-held tradition of finding a space for all eligible California residents outweighed concern over the uncertain budget situation.
â€œThis was a very difficult decision given the fact that there are not sufficient resources to fund large growth and it could have negative impact on our programs down the road,â€ said Susan Wilbur, UC’s director of undergraduate admissions. â€œThat said, I think it was the right decision because there are students who have worked hard for years to get to this point and it didn’t seem right to penalize them.â€
To close a projected a budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed funding the system by $400 million less than its governing board estimates it needs for the 2008-09 academic year to accommodate enrollment growth and improvements in student services.
Schwarzeneggerâ€™s proposed budget cut also affects the California State University (CSU) system due to a possible $312.9 million cut to the CSU budget. Enrollment closed early this year on Feb. 1 for first-time freshmen and some transfers under a system wide mandate imposed by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
According to Reed, the proposed budget fails to fund access for 10,000 CSU students and $36 million in mandatory costs.
Approximately 600 potential Fresno State students could be affected next fall, said Bernie Vinovrksi, associate vice president of enrollment services.
â€œUnfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate the anticipated enrollment growthâ€ if the proposed cut becomes reality, Vinovrksi said in a January press release.
In a January Fresno State News press release Welty said Fresno State would be forced â€œto curtail our enrollment and take several steps to reduce our expenditures.
â€œIt is most unfortunate that this will result in our preparing fewer nurses, teachers, engineers and other key people who are desperately needed in Central California,â€ said Welty.
The chancellorâ€™s mandate did not affect enrollment directly for the current spring semester at Fresno State. Spring 2007 enrollment is projected at 20,667, one of Fresno Stateâ€™s highest spring enrollments.
Systemwide, admitted UC students had an average GPA of 3.79, about the same as last year, and combined SAT scores of 1777, a very slight decline.
Along with the more than 60,000 in-state students who already have been offered admission, UC plans to offer slots to either UC Merced or UC Riverside to another 8,450 students who were not accepted at one of the campuses to which they applied.
UC typically admits more students than it can accommodate at individual campuses since not all those admitted will choose to attend.
Wilbur said the university will have a clearer picture of how budget cutbacks will affect its campuses by summer.
â€œWe have a long-standing tradition here of offering a space to every UC-eligible student, and it’s something we feel very good about,â€ she said. â€œThe long-term question is, can we continue to sustain that kind of growth if we are not appropriately funded.â€
By Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writer