Cal students face new challenges as school begins

August 22, 2011 8:17:29 PM PDT
University of California students are getting in gear this week as school officially begins on Thursday. But some are having a hard time registering for classes.

Students arrived at UC Berkeley over the weekend and Monday they were officially welcomed by the vice chancellor.

The incoming students are seeing a university that is transforming itself because of severe budget cuts. For example, this is the first time income from their tuition will surpass state funding.

The regents voted to increase tuition to more than $12,000 this year.

Parents like Frank Chen say wearing a UC Berkeley sweatshirt is a reminder that Cal is no longer affordable to many families.

"I don't need extra signs like 'I'm starving,' or 'I'm broke,' this says it all," Chen said.

Students say a higher tuition should guarantee them the classes they need. In fact, Cal says a portion of the money from this year's tuition increase is being used to add courses. But not everyone says they are getting their required classes.

"That one class which she is on the waiting list for, she can't take other classes until she has that class," Cal parent Lee Grimshaw said.

"There is definitely a lot of wait listing going on, but generally people have back up classes," Cal student Qiran Xie said.

"Every year we have students on the wait list, that's a common process that we have for students," Office of the Registrar spokesperson Anne De Luca said. "Often times those wait lists will settle out after a week or two as students are dropping or finalizing their schedule."

But many students have yet to experience that and are already thinking of summer school.

"I will graduate in four years but it makes you have to consider summer school in order to graduate on time," Cal student Rachel Eisner said.

"Which means they can't work to get the money to pay for the classes, so it's a concern," Grimshaw said.

UC says that more students attended summer school this year than ever before. They have also been recruiting more out of state students, who pay a much higher tuition.

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