WINTER 2009
Vol. 39, No. 3
 
FEATURES
Table of Contents
 
Column: Eye on Isla Vista
By Emily Einolander
  UC Santa Barbara Keeping Focus on Students During Economic Downturn By Rob Kuznia
  Transforming the Alumni Association Web Site into a Gateway By Andrea Huebner '91
  Gear Up for the 2009 All Gaucho Reunion in April
  Alumni Association Awards to Honor Gauchos Giving Back
  UCSB Alumni Association Annual Report 2007-2008
 
DEPARTMENTS
  Editor’s Note:
Defining Success for the New President
  Research Roundup:
Scholar Examines Global Trade of TV Shows
  Around Storke Tower:
News & Notes From the Campus
  Sports Roundup:
’78 and ’79 Cross Country Teams Honored
  Alumni Authors:
Food, Drink and Politics
  Milestones:
’50s to the Present
   
COVER
  Julie Ramos ’03 is one of the voices behind KTYD’s The Morning Show in Santa Barbara.

Cover photo by Alexandria Cooper
 
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A New Class of Budget Cuts
UC Santa Barbara Facing Financial Fallout from Global Economic Downturn
By Rob Kuznia

Budget CutsWith California’s budget in shambles, the UC system is taking a huge hit, and, as a result, UC Santa Barbara is in the midst of making its sixth — and most painful — round of budget cuts in seven years.

In a letter to the campus, UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang announced in mid-January that the amount of necessary budget cuts for the 2008-09 school year has swelled to $16 million.

The cuts carve roughly 8 percent out of the campus’s $200 million share of discretionary state funds, said Gene Lucas, an executive vice chancellor at UC Santa Barbara.

“There will be fewer classes, bigger classes, fewer teaching assistants and fewer student services,” Lucas told Coastlines.
There will also be fewer freshmen. In January, the UC system announced that the lack of sufficient state funding means they must pare down their admission of freshmen by 6 percent. For UC Santa Barbara, this means a reduction this coming fall to about 4,000, from 4,300 in the fall of 2008, Lucas said. The downsizing is necessary because the UC-system is overenrolled by about 11,000 students, and receives no state reimbursement for those scholars.

In a bit of good news, the UC system also announced it would bump up the number of transfer students from the California community college system by 3 percent. At UC Santa Barbara, this will open doors for about 50 more students, Lucas said.

To convey a sense of magnitude, Yang said the $16 million shortfall is the equivalent of the salaries and benefits of 160 full-time faculty members. However, UC Santa Barbara officials were quick to add that they do not plan to lay off nearly that many people.

Lucas estimates that the cuts will mean the elimination of about 120 faculty and staff positions, all but five or 10 of them through attrition. However, he stressed that this figure was only an estimate.

Moreover, many of the departments were able to use one-time rainy-day funds to get through this year’s storm. But because the $16 million shortfall will happen every year, department heads must make permanent reductions by July 1, Lucas said.

“Sometime in March we will know how these reductions will translate into permanent actions,” he said in an email. “We will try hard to avoid layoffs.”

Across the UC system, in an effort to help rein in costs, UC President Mark G. Yudof has frozen administrators.

The state’s tanking economy is largely the result of a historic tidal wave of home foreclosures, slumping retail, and an unemployment rate that by December had reached 9.3 percent, a 14-year high. The state’s deficit has ballooned, and the amount of state money available for higher education for the ongoing year has steadily shrunk.

In his letter, Yang said the reduction in permanent budget funding was projected to be $8.8 million in the summer, but grew to $12 million in September, and reached $16 million by January.

Lucas said many of the budget cuts for this year have already occurred, and students are feeling the sting.

“Students are having a harder time getting into classes,” he said. “I’ve seen letters from parents saying that the students are stressed out, therefore the parents are stressed out — much more than in previous years.”

The gutting of this year’s UC Santa Barbara budget comes after several consecutive years of thinning state aid. In the six preceding years, the UC Santa Barbara system has scaled back costs by nearly $40 million. “So it's $16 million more on top of about $40 million,” Lucas said.

Meanwhile, the proportion of the budget that is covered by state funds has been steadily shrinking at UC Santa Barbara, from 47 percent in 2001-02 to 35 percent in 2007-08.

For students, the tighter enrollment policies mean they might find themselves admitted to fewer campuses. For instance, a student who may otherwise have been accepted at three UC campuses now may get into just one or two, officials say. And UC-eligible California residents who fail to get into a UC campus for which they’ve applied might be propositioned by other campuses.

Despite the budget turmoil and resulting retrenchments, Yudof is proposing to make the UC system more accessible to low-income families. His plan calls for establishing a minimum level of gift assistance for California undergraduates with incomes below the state house median of $60,000 a year.

Such students during their first four years would receive enough scholarship and grant assistance to at least fully cover all their UC system fees.
In his comments, Yang said that in spite of the budget cuts in recent years, the campus has managed to maintain a high-quality education for students.

“We also have expanded our research activities, furthered the international recognition of our outstanding faculty, improved the diversity of our campus, and successfully raised a half-billion dollars in private support,” he said.

BY THE NUMBERS
44,673 applications from prospective first-year students.
5 percent decrease in freshmen applicants from last year.
4,100 is the target enrollment of first-year students for fall 2009.
4 UC campuses saw a decrease in applications from first-year students.
10,085 transfer applications.
14 percent increase in transfer applications from last year.
1,700 is the target enrollment of transfer students for fall 2009.
3.71 average GPA of all freshmen applicants.
31 percent of freshmen applicants with a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.
4.7percent increase from last year in total UC applicants.
45.6 percent of UC freshmen applicants who included UC Santa Barbara as one of their campus choices.