This academic year, UC Santa Cruz was one of two UCs that failed to meet the mandated student ratio — two first-year students for every one transfer. The UC Office of the President (UCOP) implemented the 2-1 ratio in collaboration with California State University and California Community College leadership in 2015.
UC President Janet Napolitano and UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal came to Cabrillo College on Nov. 20 to speak with potential UC transfer students and encourage them to apply. Following the event, Napolitano suggested there was a miscommunication between the UC and the state regarding the ratio.
“We do have an ongoing disagreement with the state. The 2-1 ratio was intended to be a systemwide ratio, not campus by campus,” she said.
As of now, UCOP could potentially lose the promised reward of $50 million in state funding if it does not meet this quota.
To accommodate more transfer students, UCSC has amended its transfer admission standards for the coming year, according to Michelle Whittingham, UCSC associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. The university will now consider applicants with a minimum 2.4 GPA as opposed to a 2.6 GPA for nonimpacted majors and a minimum 2.7 GPA instead of a 2.8 GPA for impacted majors.
Students will also enter automatically declared to the majors they apply to, while certain major requirements not typically offered at community colleges have been removed.
The ratio is also affected by the overall increase of students accepted into the UC, due to UCOP and Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandated enrollment of 10,000 additional undergraduate students by 2020, a process that began in the 2016-17 year.
Napolitano was met with controversy at Cabrillo College. About six student protesters were present, including UCSC Student Union Assembly President Max Jimenez. Their signs stated UCOP is failing to support its already enrolled students.
“It’s not fair that she’s trying to recruit new students when she isn’t focusing on the students who are here who are homeless,” said third-year UCSC student protester Lauren Hasserjian.
During the budgetary portion of the talk, Napolitano compared $20,000, around the average debt students accrue in an education at a UC, to spending money on a car.
“Unlike a car, which depreciates in value the minute you drive it off the lot, a higher education increases in value as you go through life,” she said.
Despite Napolitano stating around 50 percent of students enrolled in the UC graduate with no debt, the protesters sitting in the front row held up signs drawing attention to the most recent tuition hike of 2.5 percent following a six-year freeze.
“I know friends who are going to be drowning in their loans, their grandchildren are going to be paying off their college loans. It’s crippling,” said second-year UCSC student protester Charlotte Osborn.
Additional reporting by Georgia Sheppard.