Thursday, Jan. 16, 2003
Chuck McFadden (510) 987-9193

UC graduate enrollment growth on target

The University of California is on target to increase graduate enrollment and is even ahead of schedule in boosting graduate science and engineering education, UC Senior Vice President and Provost C. Judson King reported today (Jan. 16).

In addition, UC is managing to increase graduate student financial support, both in expenditures per student and in total expenditures, King told the UC Board of Regents in a progress report on graduate student enrollment.

"The university's early progress in enhancing support for graduate education is heartening," King said. "It demonstrates that UC is doing its part and more to provide the educated workforce that our knowledge-based economy will require in the years ahead."

For the current year, 2002-03, total general campus graduate enrollments (which exclude health sciences) rose nearly 7 percent, to an estimated 30,620 full-time equivalent students. This is above the plan for general campus graduate enrollment growth. Details on the growth by discipline are not yet available for 2002-03.

Data by discipline for last year (2001-02) show that graduate enrollments in engineering and the sciences exceeded plans, the report said. However, UC fell short of achieving its graduate enrollment targets in the humanities, social sciences and the arts during the same period.

King's report was requested by Board of Regents after the university's Commission on the Growth and Support of Graduate Education reported in January 2002 that UC needed to expand its graduate enrollment if the state were to remain economically competitive.

The commission said that by 2010, UC would need an additional $215 million annually -- a 50 percent increase -- to provide the support needed to add 11,000 graduate students and to increase the university's ability to attract the best graduate students.

The graduate commission report concluded that, by 2010-11, UC needed to increase graduate student financial support from its 1998-99 level of $417 million per year to $632 million, an increase of $215 million per year.

On a per-student basis, between 1998-99 (the year on which the commission's analysis was based) and 2000-01 (the latest year for which expenditures are available), UC graduate students in every academic area received higher levels of support than they had two years earlier. The greatest increase came in life/health sciences.

Overall, graduate students received $15,668 in support in 2000-01, compared with $14,962 (in constant dollars) two years earlier, with a wide range between fields and types of funding. Growth in financial support dollars per student has exceeded target figures in every area, increasing UC's competitiveness.

Overall, the biggest increase was in funds for research assistantships, reflecting UC faculty's excellent research grant success. Also, the humanities/arts/social sciences field saw a significant increase in fellowships and grants, an encouraging sign.

Much of the additional support for graduate students will come from such traditional sources as research assistantships, teaching assistantships and fellowships or grants funded by increased fee revenue that will come from increased enrollment. Other funds will come from a combination of sources, including private fundraising. In the past year, for example, UC campuses successfully raised nearly $35 million in private endowed funds directed specifically to graduate student fellowships.

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