IRVINE – With less than two months before UC Irvine begins a new academic year, the university is scrambling – caught off-guard by an unexpected surge of incoming freshmen.
UCI is adding more classes – and increasing the size of others. More instructors will be hired, and courses and labs might be added in the evenings and on Saturdays, faculty leaders said this week.
A university pilot program created a new tier of students, those who pay half the tuition and receive other perks their first year in return for taking classes in the Division of Continuing Education as freshmen and agreeing to live off-campus.
Ninety-six rooms that housed three students will now hold four, and some 280 freshmen will find themselves in housing not traditionally designated for first-year students, shuffling upper classmen to other housing.
Deadlines to turn in high school transcripts were more closely followed, and last-semester grades and courses were more heavily scrutinized than in the past.
“The campus is scrambling to accommodate as many of these students as we can,” said William Parker, a physics and astronomy professor who heads the UCI Academic Senate.
“Something on the order of 800 or more over-enrolled at the freshman level,” he said. “I don’t know why that happened. When you have that many more freshman than anticipated, there are a lot of problems. … Enrollment management is complicated.”
UCI received a record 104,000 applications this year and told 31,103 students they were accepted. Students often receive multiple offers and make choices, so colleges and universities must forecast how many in the end will lock in.
It can be tricky. UC universities are under great pressure to limit the number of out-of-state residents, who pay higher tuition, compared with California students, and to accommodate transfer students from community colleges.
UCI’s struggle, largely kept quiet until prospective students started raising questions on social media, with student leaders then taking up the charge, occurred because the university had planned on 6,250 incoming freshmen – but 7,100 accepted the offer to enroll.
UCI came under scrutiny in the last week when news that it rescinded 499 admission offers, a seemingly high number, made headlines in major news outlets across the country.
By comparison, UCLA rescinded a total of seven admission offers this year. UC Riverside rescinded about 90 offers, all for students receiving D or F grades during…