|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Modesto Bee 6-22-04
UC Merced's summer session slumps
MERCED -- Fewer students than administrators had hoped arrived for classes Monday as the University of California at Merced's summer session began.
Tight budgets and less financial aid might be preventing some students from enrolling in this year's summer classes, which are offered in Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield. Classes are open to UC students, high school seniors, graduates, community college students and community members prepared for university-level coursework.
The summer courses have 64 students enrolled so far, said Shannon Adamson, coordinator of the Office of Summer Session.
That's fewer than last year's total of 88, and farther from this year's goal of 100 students.
Two of six courses offered in the first of two summer sessions were canceled because of low enrollment. Later this summer, administrators will decide what classes in the second session will go on as scheduled.
Administrators said they believe high fees discouraged some students from taking classes. Budget cuts have prompted tuition increases at UC, as well as California State University and community college campuses.
At UC Merced, this year's summer session prices jumped about 50 percent over last summer's fees, said UC Merced spokeswoman Sheryl Lichtig Wyan.
Fees range from $200 to $635 per course, which typically are worth three to five credits. Costs are based on UC Davis' per-unit price because UC Merced has not yet officially opened for undergraduate students.
The Merced campus is scheduled to open in August 2005, but that depends on how much funding state legislators earmark for the campus's 2004-2005 budget. In the meantime, UC Merced runs some of its programs through the Davis campus.
When UC Merced opens, the campus will have its own financial aid options to assist students, Lichtig Wyan said. Until then, students taking UC Merced summer classes are encouraged to look for financial aid at their home campuses.
In previous years, students could also apply for the UC Merced Chancellor's Summer Scholarship Program. Available to students recently admitted to UC and enrolling at any of the system's campuses in the fall, the program allowed students to enroll in one UC Merced summer course for free, and provided the necessary textbooks.
Last year, four scholarships were available, and all four were awarded.
The chancellor's scholarship program was not offered this summer, though, again because of the ever-tightening budget.
While the price tag for classes might act as a deterrent for some, administrators hope students will still take advantage of the session. Some of the courses will be taught by UC Merced founding faculty members.
Students still have time to register for UC Merced's second summer session.
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