By BRIAN WHITEHEAD | Orange County Register, June 12, 2017
In a twist to boost enrollment of California residents, UC Irvine is launching a pilot program that lets up to 500 incoming freshman next fall pay about half the price of first-year admission.
The Anteater Leadership Academy program would let students take fully-accredited courses, taught by accredited instructors in the Division of Continuing Education during their freshman year, paying tuition of $6,315, a savings of about $6,000. Students also would take a leadership course, something the school considers an incentive for those in the program. After their freshmen year, students would be eligible to take all courses throughout the campus at standard prices.
In recent years, the UC system has come under fire for increasing its revenue by accepting more out-of-state students, who typically pay tuition that’s nearly triple in-state rates. Last year, out-of-state students accounted for about 16.5 percent of the system’s total enrollment of 210,000, according to a state report.
Last year, at UCI, out-of-state students accounted for about 19 percent of the 25,256 undergrads, most coming from out of the country. It’s unclear what the breakdown will be next year. More than 104,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students applied to UC Irvine for the 2017 fall semester, of which about 41,000 were from out of state. The school will accept about 5,200 students for the freshman class.
Though UC officials didn’t say if the financial side of the program at UCI would be a model for other campuses, they pointed to another element of the program — clustering a group of students by class within the broader student population — as something that might be picked up elsewhere.
“The general theme of providing a first-year cohort experience is something that could expand to other UCs,” said Mike Dennin, a vice provost who helped put the program together.
The new Anteater Leadership Academy will target local students: Participants can’t live on campus or receive income-based financial aid. It allows UCI to take on hundreds more students than it would otherwise. Admittance is first come, first serve until the June 30 deadline.
“With almost 39 million people now in California, there’s a pressing need to have our universities, our state system of higher education, accommodate in-state students,” said Tom Vasich, a UCI spokesman. “The mission of this university is to think of innovative approaches for creating undergraduate programs that can allow us to provide a UCI education to more students.
“These first students are going to be the pioneers in that they’ll be providing feedback to our program managers,” Vasich added.
“It’s definitely an exciting opportunity for students looking for a non-traditional way to get a UCI education and make a difference for the future leaders coming through campus.”
The Anteater Leadership Academy will offer general-education courses in fields such as sociology, economics, political science and math, and special courses aimed at beefing up leadership skills.
Taught by UCI professors, classes will be in a new Division of Continuing Education building and elsewhere on campus. Vasich said the courses are transferable.
“The first year of college for students can be difficult,” Vasich said. “When they’re rooted with a peer group, they thrive in the college environment at a much higher rate. As an Anteater Leader, they’ll hit the ground running.”
In 2009, UCI offered a similar incentive when it covered tuition for the first year for its inaugural law school students. That law school quickly excelled; the last two years, U.S. News & World Report listed UCI 28th in its annual ranking of best law schools in the country.
Can we make a modest proposal for PR for this offer?
Click twice if needed.