University of California is in the midst of an enrollment crisis

California fall undergraduate enrollment declines have slowed, but still ‘troubling’

Kathy Hochul, who is serving as interim chancellor, is seeking to increase the number of freshmen to reach a record 100,000

The University of California may be in the midst of a major enrollment crisis.

The University of California has seen a drop in undergraduate enrollment over the past 12 months, and the trend is accelerating. For the 2017-18 academic year, U.S. News & World Report reported that enrollment dropped to about 12.3 percent of the total U.S. population, down from 12.7 percent in 2016.

Since 2000, the number of full-time U.S. undergraduates has dropped by an average of 2.6 percent per year, according to U.S. News, while the number of students attending full-time is down about 3 percent in the same period, with the exception of 2015, according to an analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The report said there seems to be no end in sight for the challenges facing the entire U.S. education supply chain. In California, enrollment declined, but the figures are still at record highs. (Read more about enrollment in the state.)

Hochul, appointed to lead the University of California next year, is working to reverse enrollment declines, increase full-time enrollments and increase support for financial aid. She will try to balance new financial aid, particularly for out-of-state students, while boosting the number of California freshmen enrolled in fall 2018, which is when students graduate.

“We have some challenges,” Hochul said in response to the U.S. News report. “Our number of freshmen is very low. This is consistent with the numbers in recent years. And we have seen it for other institutions in the University of California system.”

The University of California, as a state-owned corporation, has been under fire for years for a system of higher ed that relies too much on federal aid money, where it is a cash cow for universities that, in return, provide a steady stream of jobs. Hochul said the decline is expected to continue, but she is trying to reverse that trend

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