UC Santa Barbara is offering 160 fewer undergraduate courses this winter -- an 8% drop from the same quarter last year. The situation is exacerbated because enrollment unexpectedly rose by about 1,000 students this year.
Some students worry that they may not have enough credits to meet requirements for financial aid or campus housing. But officials promised extra advising to help students search for appropriate courses and said no punitive action will be taken if students show that they are trying to meet the requirements. Nobody "will have the plug pulled on them," said David Marshall, executive dean of UC Santa Barbara's College of Letters and Science.
Marshall also said there could be a bright side as students learn about new subject areas "in great courses they just hadn't thought about at the beginning."
At UCLA, officials report a 6% drop in winter-term undergraduate classes and a boost in average class size from 49 to 53 students. UC Irvine reported a 4% decline in fall class offerings and a spokeswoman said she expects the winter numbers to be worse.
UC Santa Cruz reported an 11% drop in winter quarter courses. UC Davis had shortages in widely required courses such as chemistry and composition, but no major reductions.
Ricardo Gomez, a third-year student at UC Berkeley, is enrolled in just two classes as spring semester begins. The interdisciplinary major from Oxnard is on three waiting lists in hopes of snagging two more courses.
"I'm worried about this," he said. "It's hurting me because I will have to stay here longer and not get the experience I want in college if I don't get these classes."