Chancellor's Friday Letters

Looking for Class Space

Looking for Class Space

December 4, 2009

Dear Friends,

At this time of the academic year, many additional pressures come together on our faculty, students, and staff. While finishing up the current academic term, our students also experience the process and angst of enrolling in courses for next term, as well as accessing adequate financing, including financial aid.

It has become painfully apparent this week that the demand for classes, particularly for our first year students and transfers who are now registering, exceeds current course availability. Our faculty, staff, and administrators have been working diligently over the past few days to ensure that a combination of additional and expanded courses becomes available for Winter quarter.

To those students caught up in this problem, I ask for your patience, flexibility, and persistence in registering for courses. A special enrollment session will be available beginning mid-December, with particular attention given to students who have yet been unable to secure a full load. Students will receive an e-mail with detailed information by December 9.

I know that the increase in fees has students and parents worried that they no longer will be able to afford a UCR education. What you can be sure of is that UCR has a robust financial aid program that offers help to eligible families at nearly every income level.

In this context, I am both puzzled and concerned that the existence of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan has not penetrated very well into the very public conversation that is occurring both on campus and in families about the student fee increases.

The Blue and Gold plan (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/blueandgold/) is an outstanding and innovative program that covers systemwide fees for eligible students (on-going, community college transfer, and new) who are of greatest financial need (i.e., families with annual incomes of $60,000 or less). Starting in September 2010, the income threshold will be $70,000.

Moreover, for families with financial need earning up to $100,000, UCR offers additional grant money that offsets half of the fee increase. In coming years, we hope to expand that to families earning up to $120,000.

UCR’s financial aid office (http://finaid.ucr.edu/) has access to many other forms of financial aid. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of our undergraduates receive some form of financial help – whether low-cost loans, grants, work study or scholarships – with an average award of close to $14,000 annually.

I encourage families to also take full advantage of recently expanded federal tax credits, which provide up to $2,500 per student based on a family’s college costs in 2009. These credits are available to students from families with annual incomes as high as $180,000, and provide enough to offset fee increases for three-quarters of our undergraduate students across the entire UC system in 2009-10.

I do not intend to be at all dismissive of the tremendous burden the fees are causing for individual students and their families. This is creating great worry for all of us, and I wish it weren’t so… but it is our new reality. A wish without a plan is just a wish… the Blue and Gold Plan, among the other multiple options available, provides a plan that enables most students to navigate.

I implore all of us to recognize that there are remarkable programs to help, and that the net cost for a student is such an incredible investment in their future – and for the future of our region, state, and nation. A UCR education produces a degree that carries instant recognition and opens doors of opportunity around the world.



Tim White


Curious how our very own Professor Jodie Holt taught Sigourney Weaver to dress like a botanist in the movie Avatar? Or how she helped film director James Cameron make his plants glow with bioluminescence?

Reza Aslan, a creative writing professor and an author who has been widely quoted in the media about the Middle East, will speak to the Affiliates of UCR on Monday, Dec. 7.

UCR/California Museum of Photography will help young children make a 3-D holiday card at the First Sunday’s event, Dec. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Wondering what else is going on at UCR? It’s all listed at http://www.happenings.ucr.edu

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