National Beat Reporter
The UC Board of Regents are set to meet at University of California, San Francisco over the span of three days starting today to discuss issues ranging from increasing transfer student enrollment to the UC Office of the President’s involvement in a state audit, which reported $175 million in secret reserve funds were set aside by the UCOP. On the final day of meeting, the Board will vote on the proposed 18 percent cap on nonresident student enrollment and the proposed budget for UCOP.
The first two days are comprised of closed-door committee discussions. On Tuesday, the Investments Subcommittee will discuss policy revisions on the UC’s investment criteria, which dictates how and where the UC chooses to invest its funds. On the following day, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee will deliberate outreach strategies to bolster transfer student enrollment and financial aid policies for professional degree programs requiring supplemental tuition.
The Financial Capital Strategies committee will also meet on Wednesday to discuss strategies on student housing for several UC campuses. UC Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom will elaborate how the governor’s revised budget proposal affects the UC. Governor Brown released a newly revised version of the 2017-2018 state budget proposal last week, which withholds $50 million from the UC to “hold [UC officials’] feet to the fire” in order to trim costs.
Federal budget revisions and UC-sponsored state legislation will also be in the Public Engagement and Development committee’s discussion items. President Trump signed a federal spending bill earlier this month restoring the year-round Pell Grants, including summer sessions for university students. The last time year-round Pell Grants were available was 2011.
On the Board’s final meeting day, a recap of the closed-door committee sessions will preface the two crucial items up for vote: the cap on nonresident student enrollment and the UCOP’s budget for the next fiscal year.
A proposed cap of 20 percent on nonresident student enrollment was set to be voted on by the Board last March over concerns of crowding-out resident students. That proposal set a 20 percent cap on all UC campuses except for UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD, which would institute a freeze on their current nonresident student percentages that range from 23-25 percent.
However, after thorough deliberation amongst the Regents, the final conclusion was that this policy change would bereave campuses from crucial funding provided by the revenue stream of nonresident student tuition.
The adjustment from 20 to 18 percent would still allow the UC to take in additional revenue amounting to $434 million if all UC campuses reached the 18 percent limit over the next five years. The 18 percent cap would also require UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, and UCSD to maintain their current nonresident student proportions.
The vote on the UCOP’s proposed budget will be made amidst controversy revolving the recently released state audit, which reports the UCOP setting aside $175 million in secret reserve funds, $32 million of which could have been allocated to student service across all 10 UC campuses.
A special meeting was called last Thursday to discuss allegations that Napolitano’s office intentionally intervened to alter answers during the audit process. President Napolitano stated that her staff was replying to inquiries from the UC campuses to help them with the audit process.
“Yeah, it looked like that but in the end, the issue was to make sure the answers were accurate, within the scope of the audit, and they reflected the views of campus leadership,” said Napolitano.
The Board approved the motion to bring in an “independent consultant” to investigate claims from the state audit report.
While Napolitano has faced criticism from state leaders and UC students alike, many Regents on the Board retain their faith in Napolitano’s capacity to lead the UC in the right direction.
“I’m not easily snowed over, and in my opinion Janet Napolitano is an excellent UC president and I support her,” said UC Regent Richard Blum.