Click here to bypass page layout and jump directly to story.=

UC Berkeley >

University of California

News - Media Relations






  Press Releases

  Image Downloads



UC Berkeley offers $500 rebate to students who graduate at end of Summer Sessions
11 Jul 2000

By Gretchen Kell, Media Relations

Tidal Wave IIBerkeley - While many of her classmates are on vacation or back in their hometowns this summer, Teresa Rodriguez remains in class at the University of California, Berkeley, wrapping up a double major in English and physical anthropology.

In August, Rodriguez not only will receive her degrees, but a $500 thank-you gift from the campus.

With California higher education facing a so-called "tidal wave" in student enrollment during the next 10 years, UC Berkeley is offering for the first time this summer a $500 rebate to any student who graduates at the end of this year's Summer Sessions. Campus officials hope the Graduating Seniors Rebate Program, a campus incentive to increase summer enrollment, will make room for more students in the fall.

"The rebate offer was a clear incentive for me to finish school in the summer. Prior to now, I didn't even know you could graduate in the summer," said Rodriguez. "Thanks to my 'reward,' I will visit a couple of graduate schools where I plan to apply next year. Believe me, I couldn't do this without the $500."

While it's true that some students might not know they can graduate in the summer, said Gary Penders, director of Summer Sessions, the biggest competitors to summer school at UC Berkeley " are students taking summer jobs, traveling and taking classes elsewhere. A lot of students go home in the summer, many of them to Southern California, and attend school there."

Nonetheless, the popularity of Summer Sessions, which runs through August 11, has been increasing by about eight to 10 percent for the last six or seven years. This summer, some 9,400 UC Berkeley students - about 40 percent of the undergraduate population - are in campus classrooms. Of this group, 316 students so far have applied for the graduation rebate. In addition, approximately 3,000 other students are taking Summer Sessions courses.

Penders is pleased with the response to the rebate. "Three hundred was our target," he said.

Across the nation, the Baby Boom generation's children are filling junior and senior high school classrooms, and, in the next 10 years, the entire University of California system is expected to absorb 63,000 more students than currently are enrolled. The UC's Office of the President has asked UC Berkeley to consider adding the equivalent of 4,000 full-time students by 2010. Of those, 400 are expected to arrive for fall semester 2000.

At UC Berkeley, the Expanded Enrollment Steering Committee, comprised of UC Berkeley administrators and faculty members, has been suggesting and reviewing projects dedicated to accommodating more students on campus.

Penders gave the committee several suggestions, including the $500 rebate plan. With the average Summer Sessions student taking about one course for a cost of between $800 and $900, he said, the rebate could refund more than half of what they paid.

Another new incentive to attending Summer Sessions is a change in the eligibility requirement for the Low Income Grant Program. Last summer, students who received less than $1,000 a year in family support for their education were eligible. This year, the amount of family support was raised to less than $3,000 a year, increasing the pool of eligible students.

As "Tidal Wave II" approaches, Gov. Gray Davis also is showing support for expanded summer enrollment. Starting in summer 2001, the state will begin to support Summer Sessions, which historically has been self-supporting.

At UC Berkeley, students taking part in the $500 rebate program for graduating seniors said saving money is great. But they listed other advantages to being at UC Berkeley in the summertime.

"The classes are smaller, which is nice, and the professors seem a little more accessible," said Brijinder Singh Grewal, who will graduate in August with a political science degree - and a rebate.

"Professors tend to have more time after class and during office hours," added Rodriguez. "As a consequence, I benefit from their attention."

She said the bookstore is less crowded and books usually are readily available, and that you can always get on-line to the campus from a home computer because fewer students are using the network.

"Discussions during class tend to be more spirited," said Rodriguez, "due to the fact that, in the summer, many seniors, foreign students, high school students and others add to the diversity of the classroom."

Another plus, said Penders, is the chance for summer graduates to enter the job market early.

Penders said he hopes the rebate program, to be assessed this fall, will help take "a little bite" out of the upcoming enrollment boom. He also wants the incentive plan to become a model for another program being discussed by the university.

"One of the ideas on the list is to provide an incentive to get students to finish in four years," he said. "If you graduate in four years, the university might rebate your last regular term fee. That's about $2,000, which is four times better than our $500 offer."



Tidal Wave II


UC Berkeley | News | Archives | Extras | Media Relations

Comments? E-mail

Copyright 2000 UC Regents. All rights reserved.