UC to Waitlist Applicants in Fall 2010

Students applying for freshman admission to one or more UC campuses in Fall 2010 will be the first to face a new waitlisting procedure.

The university is planning to implement waitlists for admission, in hopes of curbing overenrollment. Waitlisted students will be notified in March, and the final admission decision will arrive after May 1.

According to Debora Obley, associate vice president for budget operations in the UC Office of the President, the UC system currently contains about 200,000 students, and is overenrolled by approximately 15,000 — increasing the student-faculty ratio and straining resources.

Obley said the university received $4 billion in state funding for the 2009-10 academic year, the same amount available in 2006-07, despite growing demand.

“In 2006-07, we had about 20,000 fewer students,” Obley said. “And at that time, we thought we were underfunded.”

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Susan Wilbur said that by placing students on the waitlist instead of offering them admission, there is a reduced chance of having a high yield rate, which leads to overenrollment.

“We expect that UC campuses will admit a sufficient number of applicants to reach their enrollment targets, but [the] yield is not always predictable,” Wilbur said. “Let’s say, for example, that a campus comes up short of its target. A waitlist allows the campus to offer a place to additional students in a controlled way — that is, to an appropriate number of well-qualified students who applied but were not originally offered a space.”

This would help the university accurately enroll the number of students it is funded to support. The exact number of students to be placed on waitlists has not been determined, though UC Vice President for Budget and Capital Resources Patrick Lens estimated 1,000.

UC Irvine experimented with a pilot waitlist program this fall. Approximately 700 applicants were offered a spot on the waitlist in March 2009, and one-half decided to accept.

“Following receipt of the Statement of Intent to Register forms on May 1, Irvine found that it had some space to admit additional students,” Wilbur said. “The campus decided to offer a space to all students on its waitlist.”

Joshua Kim, a junior at Oxford Academy High School, said that although the new waitlists will not influence his UC application decisions, the plan is a good idea.

“The waitlists can’t hurt anyone,” Kim said. “I’d rather be told I’m on their waitlists than get rejected. Regardless, I’m still going to apply to the four or five UC [campuses] I want to go to.”

The committee has yet to determine which UC campuses will implement waitlists.

“It is voluntary, however, and individual UC campus participation is optional,” Wilbur said. “But the conversations are serious, and the probability of implementing a waitlist strategy is very high.”

The committee is in the process of working out potential complications, such as deciding whether or not a student can be on multiple lists. Specific details regarding coordination of the process are still in the works.

Readers can contact Kelly Kim at [email protected].

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