Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Santa Cruz has a problem

UC Santa Cruz has offerings far beyond hippies and banana slugs. So why can't it draw more transfer students?

Teresa Watanabe  LA Times  1-3-18

UC Santa Cruz sits on an idyllic expanse of redwood groves and rolling meadows. World-class surf is just minutes away. Its researchers were the first to arrange the DNA sequence of the human genome and make it publicly available. It is quirky and colorful, with campus traditions that include a naked run through the season’s first heavy rain and a banana slug for a mascot.

So why can’t the university attract as many transfer students as the state says it must?

About nine miles away, Cabrillo College in Aptos is the closest community college. But at a recent UC Santa Cruz sales pitch featuring University of California President Janet Napolitano, numerous Cabrillo students made it clear Santa Cruz wasn’t their first transfer choice. Cal State is cheaper and classes are smaller, said one student. Santa Cruz housing is too expensive, said another. Several named UCLA or UC Berkeley as their dream schools.

“Santa Cruz life is too hippie for me.” said Rachel Biddleman, a 21-year-old studying political science. “I’m more of a city person.”

UC Santa Cruz recently launched a million-dollar effort to reach out to community college students around the state in an effort to change minds and boost its transfer numbers. The university is under pressure to meet state demands that eight of the nine UC undergraduate campuses enroll one transfer student for every two freshmen. Santa Cruz and Riverside both fall short, a failure Gov. Jerry Brown cited last year as one reason why he is withholding $50 million from UC’s budget.

Last year, Santa Cruz enrolled about three freshmen for every transfer student. Of the campuses under state scrutiny, only Riverside did worse, with about four freshman per transfer. State finance officials will decide this spring if the campuses have made sufficient “good faith efforts” toward meeting the ratio, which was set by Brown and Napolitano in 2015, said H.D. Palmer, the spokesman for the state finance department. He said one reason why Brown is pushing for increases is that they provide a more cost-efficient path to a four-year degree because transfer students complete their first two years of studies at the less expensive community colleges.

But he says the campus is trying hard — starting with correcting what he said were misperceptions. People still hear the name and picture the campus “Rolling Stone” once dubbed “the stonedest place on earth.”

“Some people still think of us as a kooky place … as banana slugs, hippies and protests,” he said. “We’re also a serious university.”...

Full story at

So whose fault is it? Maybe the link below has the answer:

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