The University of California Board of Regents voted 19-2 Wednesday to cap freshman enrollment in 2009-10 in response to continued underfunding by the state.
UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Merced would not reduce the number of entering freshmen at their campuses, due to high demand at UCLA and Berkeley and the continuing expansion of UC Merced. In the rest of the UC system, the incoming class would be reduced by 2,300 California-resident students.
"All of this is done very reluctantly," UC President Mark G. Yudof said at the meeting. "But this is very important. We don't have money for everything."
Approximately 4,700 freshmen were enrolled at UCLA last fall. For fall 2009, UCLA will not exceed that enrollment.
Statewide, an extra 500 transfer students will be accepted in 2009-10 to offset any impact of the enrollment limit may have on ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Despite the reduction in entering-class numbers, the UC system would still find a space for every eligible California student who applies, Yudof said.
Year-upon-year increases in freshman enrollment have left the UC system with 11,000 students that the state does not pay UC to educate, creating an estimated shortfall of $121.8 million. UC analysts predict the enrollment cap would save $20 million next year. With fewer students, the savings would come from offering fewer classes, hiring fewer lecturers, leaving faculty and staff vacancies open and other measures, Yudof said.
Reducing the number of freshmen admitted next year by 2,300 students would bring the entering class population closer to historic levels, but because this year's graduating class is smaller than the proposed freshman class, UC's enrollment would still increase by 700 students.
If the state's budget situation remains bleak, yearly reductions in UC's incoming classes would bring the total student population below current levels by 2010-11 and continue to do so through 2012-13.