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Regents Mull Expanded Summer School Instruction

Posted March 22, 2000

Expanded summer instruction will be a key component of the University of California's efforts to accommodate enrollment growth over the next decade, assuming that necessary state financial support is provided, UC officials told the Board of Regents March 16.

"Expanding instruction during the summer will make efficient use of our facilities, help some students graduate earlier, reduce the impacts of growth during the traditional academic year, and provide innovative new academic opportunities," said C. Judson King, UC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "We are ready to move forward on this exciting and challenging task, and the support of the state is crucial to our success."

Growth in California's college-age population is expected to increase UC's general-campus enrollment by 63,000 full-time-equivalent students between 1998-99 and 2010-11. Berkeley is expected to be asked to absorb 4,000 additional full-time equivalent studnets. This 43 percent increase equals the university's growth over the last 30 years and also is roughly equivalent to the combined enrollments of Berkeley and UCLA.

The university is pursuing a range of options for accommodating this growth. Strategies include expanding regular on-campus enrollments during the fall, winter and spring terms; opening the new UC Merced campus; offering more instructional programs at off-campus centers; making use of advances in educational technology; and improving students time to graduation.

Expanding instruction during the summer term is another important strategy, and the Legislature has asked UC to report by April 1 on the feasibility of this option.

Providing an overview of the report's findings, UC officials told the regents that about 27 percent of UC students now attend the university during the summer, virtually all of them part-time. The university believes it is possible to increase summer enrollments substantially.

The state does not currently fund the summer session. UC is requesting that the state change this policy so that students attending in the summer pay fees and receive financial aid equivalent to that provided during the regular academic year, and also receive an academic experience comparable in quality to the rest of the year.

State funding for the existing summer session would cost the state about $54 million per year, and future enrollment growth in the summer would receive the same per-student state funding as in the fall, winter and spring.

Expanded summer instruction would allow some students to graduate earlier, making room for others. It would reduce the traffic and housing impacts that would occur during the traditional academic year if all growth took place in the fall, winter and spring. It also would provide students and faculty with innovative educational opportunities in less-crowded settings.

King said the university is considering a variety of incentives to encourage student and faculty interest in the summer term. Faculty would continue to teach three quarters per year, and the addition of the summer as part of the regular academic year would allow professors to utilize a different part of the year for intensive research activities. Incentives for students might include such things as increased financial aid; short, intensive courses; courses tailored to the sophomore or senior summer; special laboratory and clinical experiences; classes designed for incoming students; and expanded summer Education Abroad programs.



March 22 - April 5, 2000 (Volume 28, Number 26)
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
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Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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