Wednesday, January 16, 2002
University of California Office of the President

Media Contact:
Charles McFadden
(510) 987-9193

California Must Expand UC Graduate Enrollments and Increase Student Support,
UC Commission Concludes

To serve the state's needs by 2010, the University of California must boost systemwide graduate student enrollment by at least 11,000, a nearly 50 percent increase, and increase support for individual graduate students, a university commission has concluded.

California is dead last among the 15 largest states in growth in graduate enrollments over the last 10 years, the commission reported, and is one of only five states in which graduate enrollments declined during the last decade.

The Commission on the Growth and Support of Graduate Education, appointed by UC Board of Regents Chairman S. Sue Johnson and UC President Richard C. Atkinson, spent last year examining unmet needs for graduate education and financial support for graduate students.

"In a knowledge-based economy where advanced education is at a premium, the fact that the University of California is lagging so dramatically in graduate enrollments is an issue that simply must be addressed," Atkinson said. "If we hope to maintain the state's supremacy in such fields as biotechnology and electronics, create new industries not yet imagined, and solve California's pressing social and environmental problems, we need a highly educated workforce - and that means expanded graduate enrollments."

In addition to the need for a well-educated workforce, California's colleges and universities will need to hire an estimated 40,000 new faculty during the coming decade, to teach the huge increase in undergraduate students expected to enroll. California's colleges will depend on graduates from UC's doctoral programs for many of these faculty, the commission noted.

But commissioners said that to enroll the numbers of graduate students needed and to recruit the most talented students to UC, the university will need to increase funding to meet students' educational and living costs. The commission concludes that by 2010, UC will need to increase funding for graduate student support to $215 million annually, about a 50 percent increase. The bulk of that money is expected from traditional sources, but there will still exist a $65 million shortfall.

The commission recommended that the university propose to the state creation of state-funded postsecondary teaching fellowships for UC and other postsecondary institutions in California. Doctoral students would receive fellowship stipends in return for a commitment to provide four years of teaching service at a public or private postsecondary institution in California. Funding for graduate student support would also be sought from federal and private sources, as well as from the state.

The commission also said that UC must review its own practices in regard to graduate students to ensure that the university's environment for graduate students is the best in the nation. Affordable housing, additional programs to enhance faculty-student and student-student interaction, and improved career planning and placement are among the priority areas to be addressed.

The commission's six top recommendations on how UC should expand its graduate programs and increase support for graduate students are:

- Seek an increase in federal support for fellowship stipends from the current $16,000-18,000 annually to $25,000, and advocate as well for an additional 1,500 stipends nationwide for graduate students (increase to UC: $22 million).

- Urge the state to create a program of repayable fellowships for doctoral students in California universities who, upon graduation, agree to teach in California higher education institutions (increase to UC: $20 million).

- Seek state funding for 1,000 "incentive grants" for students awarded prestigious national fellowships to make the University of California more competitive in enrolling them (increase to UC: $10 million).

- Develop a program of collaborative industry-university internships for graduate students, particularly at the master's level, integrated with their academic programs (increase to UC: $8 million).

- Create a University of California graduate fellowships endowment to raise the funds necessary to provide $5 million annually for first-year and dissertation-year fellowships, especially in underfunded disciplines (increased immediate fundraising with a goal of a $125 million endowment).

- Develop a solid case for more funding for nonresident graduate students, and then inform state and federal decision-makers and private donors about the importance of educating graduate domestic nonresident and graduate international students in California, proposing to them the funding necessary to accomplish it.

The 22-member commission was appointed by chairman Johnson and Atkinson in January 2001. It is co-chaired by Johnson and UC Provost C. Judson King.

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