By Leslie Bregman, Daily Nexus, January 12, 1977
Enrollment limitation continues to be a controversial topic among community leaders and the UCSB administration. The problem originated through a conflict between the University’s promise to accommodate the state’s qualified students and the shortage of housing in Isla Vista.
As enrollment increases, the area surrounding the University must deal with the need for additional housing in an already densely populated area and even higher rents. The “multiplier effect,” computes a 1.1 resident increase in the South Coast to provide goods and services for each new UCSB student.
Both Dick Jensen, UCSB’s director of planning analysis and budget and Third District Supervisor Bill Wallace, agree that some limit to enrollment is necessary, but Wallace claims that the administration is not sticking to its 1974 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).
The Plan calls for an increase of 2,000 students in ten years, bringing the total enrollment to 15,000. “The University is way ahead of schedule,” Wallace charged. “I don’t think that 50 percent of this increase occurring within the first two years is sticking to the plan. UCSB is not living up to the agreement,” he added.
Jensen admitted that increases are hard to project due to unexpected fluctuation in the number of students who apply, return or graduate from UCSB. He feels, however, that is is beneficial to the University to “have a natural leveling process rather than big jumps up or down in enrollment.”
Jensen is confident that this “leveling” will occur because of recent declines in the number of students attending elementary school. UCSB enrollment is expected to reach 14,300 by 1980, if current projections are accurate.
The administration has taken some measures to stabilize enrollment though, by enforcing early cut-off dates for the filing of application by new students. According to Betsy Watson of the Public Information Office, “This is the only legal way the University can limit enrollment.” While the cut-off date for 1975-76 enrollment was the previous March, next year it may be rolled back to February.
IVCC member Dave Stafford, argues that one factor working against the limiting of enrollment is that the UC system is presently accepting the top 14.8 percent of graduating high school seniors, instead of the recommended 12.5 percent.
But Watson finds this figure “hard to project” because admissibility and willingness to attend are often different figures. According to Watson, only 5.8 percent of those high school graduates eligible to attend actually enroll in a UC campus.
The Enrollment Impact Committee, a University and community group, is looking into the impact of enrollment and conducting a Housing Study to determine additional housing needs for the 15,000 students projected in the LRDP. The current plan for additional housing relies on an apartment-type unit to be built on Los Carneros. This kind of building would have enough flexibility to meet changing University needs, administrators believe. There is no plan for a new dorm in the near future.
Both Wallace and Stafford are in agreement over total University control of enrollment. They agree that UCSB must be accountable to the adjacent community and that there should be a “balance of control between the University and the community.”