University of California regents on Thursday approved a $9.3-billion budget that will add 2,500 more California undergraduates and increase support for struggling students without raising tuition in the next academic year.
The spending plan marks the first step in a four-year blueprint to boost enrollment, improve student success and reinvest in faculty and research. UC leaders say their hope is to reignite the “California Dream” for the next generation.
Regents, who ended a two-day meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, are hopeful that the political and financial uncertainties of the last several years are behind them, giving them breathing room to reimagine the future of the nation’s preeminent public research university system.
The efforts mark “an important shift in how we talk about what it is that we do, why it’s important to the state and why it deserves to be funded,” said Regent John A. Pérez.
UC has laid out a long-term goal of producing 200,000 more bachelor’s degrees by 2030, which would help close the state’s projected shortfall by that year of 1.1 million college graduates.
UCLA and UC Berkeley have just about reached their on-campus capacity, enrolling between 40,000 and 45,000 students each. Other campuses — particularly UC Merced and UC Riverside — have more capacity to grow, but it will take more investments in housing, classrooms, labs and offices, according to a briefing paper from UC President Janet Napolitano’s office.
In addition to enrolling more students, officials say, UC must step up efforts to help them graduate. About two-thirds of students graduate within four years; the hope is to get that to 76% by 2030. Overall, nine of 10 UC students eventually graduate.
Getting students through more quickly will help them launch their careers earlier and will open up room on campuses for others. UC graduates earn $260,000 more during the first 10 years after graduation than undergraduates who drop out, the briefing paper says.
UC plans to lobby for legislation to allow low-income students to use Cal Grants for summer courses, which would help them graduate sooner.
Read more : Terasa Watanbe : LA Times : 15 November 2018