UCD’s 2020 Initiative plan for accelerated student population growth

5) Impacts on our community from UCD wanting to add 4,500 international and out-of-state students by 2020 for revenue

UCD is accepting significantly more students annually, particularly 4,500 international and out-of-state students by 2020, but it has not done nearly enough to match construction of new on-campus housing to enrollment growth.  Other campuses such as UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UC Merced, and CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have provided and are planning to provide more on-campus student housing, so why not UCD? Why is UCD so far behind in responsible and sustainable planning, particularly since it has over 5,300 acres?

The consequences of UCD’s failure to provide sufficient on-campus housing have caused major impacts on our community, including significantly increased car and bicycle traffic, lack of parking, and the emergence of more and more neighborhood mini-dorms. Plus, the availability of housing for local families and workforce has diminished because multiple students can pool their finances to pay higher rents.

Again, UCD’s irresponsibility and inaction in failing to provide   the needed and promised on-campus housing is unfair to the UCD students and to our community, because we are suffering the consequences while UCD delays taking action.

6) UCD’s Overly Ambitious “2020 Initiative for a UCD Campus for the 21st Century” Growth Plan Has Worsened the Shortage of Student Housing

In 2011, former UCD Chancellor Linda Katehi announced her ambitious “2020 UCD Campus for the 21st Century” plan at the UCD Fall Convocation address. The goal of the initiative was to significantly increase the UCD student population on an accelerated timeline and recruiting far more non-resident students for the higher tuition revenue they are required to pay UCD.

At that time the Chancellor apparently advocated that out of 5,000 new undergrad students, 3,000 should be non-residents and only 2,000 should be California residents. It was obvious that the intention was to try to increase UCD’s revenue by exacting the more than triple tuition charged for non-resident students. In addition to the influx of 5,000 additional undergrads, the 2020 Initiative planned to attract “significantly more graduate student enrollment.”  But, there was no adequate plan by UCD leadership to provide significantly more on-campus apartments for this enormous 5,000+ increase in the UCD student population by 2020 for the four or more years they would attend UCD. This lack of planning for a commensurate increase in on-campus student housing implies that UCD expected that the City of Davis would accommodate this dramatic upsurge in students.

While UCD apparently started increasing the number of non-resident students in 2011, a UCD 2020 Initiative Task Force was formed that November to address the details of the plan for implementation if it was considered feasible. The task force responded formally in November 2012 in a report identifying many issues including the financing of substantially more faculty, staff, facilities and services that would need if the 2020 Initiative was to be successful. The administration then announced in March 2013 that UCD would move forward with the initiative with a joint report which was covered in the media:


One of the Task Force conclusions reached was rejecting Katehi’s originally proposed ratio of the 2,000 California resident students to 3,000 non-resident students being recruited for the proposed addition of 5,000 students by 2020 because it would gain $6 million in revenue, which was not considered sufficient.

Five ratio scenarios were discussed, but ultimately the UCD task force decided that the ratio scenario to pursue would be 4,500 non-resident students and only 500 additional students would be California resident students with the goal of $38 million in revenue. However, there would also be significant costs that would be coming with this aggressive UCD 2020 Initiative concept.

The UCD 2020 Initiative Task force made it clear concerns that this ambitious plan to yield more revenue from non-resident students would require more staffing, such as for the Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) and English as a second language (ESL) classes. As some may have noticed, a new International Student Center was built on-campus this past year as well. In addition to replacing an expected retirement of 350 faculty within six years, an additional 300 faculty (totaling 650) would be needed as well as at least 400 – 600 non-faculty staff plus more facilities including offices, classrooms, and research space to accommodate the proposed massive influx of new students.   Yet, before all of this infrastructure was in place, the upsurge of resident and non-resident student enrollment began by 2011 without a commensurate increase in on-campus housing to accommodate the new students for the 4-5 years they would attend UCD.

It is interesting that as the above 2013 Davis Enterprise article covers, then Mayor Joe Krovosa stated that UCD was “keeping the City informed” so that the City would be apprised of the growth impacts”. Yet, none of that seemed to have materialized or resulted in any action by UCD to expedite the building of on-campus housing for the influx of so many more students. In fact, quite the contrary, UCD closed the Orchard Park apartment complex on-campus in 2014, thereby significantly reducing the amount of 4-year housing available for students on-campus, and it still remains closed awaiting a redevelopment plan. The loss of this 4-year apartment housing had a huge impact on UCD students as well as our community because it displaced all of its residents. Furthermore, the rents from these 200 apartments were a significant loss to UCD revenue as well. A far higher density project of more than 4 stories with far more apartments is needed at Orchard Park, and soon. UCD did some renovation and expansion of on-campus dorms, but that just allowed UCD to secure new students as freshmen to live on campus for only one year, after which the students are forced off campus to find housing elsewhere, thereby impacting our city and neighboring cities.

Furthermore, UCD apparently did not keep the City informed on how they intended to address housing this massive number of additional UCD students.  However, at a City Council meeting in the fall of 2015, UCD announced that it was launching an update to its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and invited public input.  UCD’s head of campus planning, Bob Segar, further stated that the university would be unable to house all of the new students that would be enrolled in fall 2016. This revelation leads to the obvious question of where UCD expects all the new students to live in the absence of adequate on-campus housing.   Is it UCD’s expectation that its own failure to plan and construct on-campus housing for thousands of students, should now become our City’s problem? This situation was entirely avoidable had UCD been more responsible, as they had promised in the City of Davis-UCD MOU. The result of UCD’s inaction is a multitude of impacts that are now being passed onto UCD students and to our community.

7)  Other consequences of UCD’s 2020 Initiative, UCD has the highest cheating rate nationwide in recent report

Over the past year several articles in the media have covered an emerging consequence of the significant rise in international students being recruited, often using lower standards for the universities to reap the higher tuitions nationwide. The recent Sept. 8th Davis Enterprise covered a story that UCD was needing to address the growing problem of increased cheating reported at an alarming rate. This issue was particularly amongst international students involving Chinese students most often.


The Wall Street Journal did a comprehensive report this past June collecting data from 50 universities nationwide with high foreign student enrollment which included UCD, and apparently the UCD campus had the highest rate of cheating reported which primarily involved foreign students.


It is clear that recruitment of these international students trying to learn in a different language, in a very different culture, and so far from home is stressful. Since the stress results with desperate actions at times, such as cheating to pass a class, the obvious issues it raises are questions like: 1) how effective is the learning process at UCD for these stressed foreign students; 2) how does this affect the faculty and staff trying to teach these students, 3) how much time and cost is involved in UCD staff needing to provide counseling and to address these incidences; and 4) how does UCD having the highest rate of cheating revealed in this recent report in the media affect UCD’s reputation?

8)  UCD exacerbates the on-campus housing shortage by significantly increasing its student population

In 2014 the UC system started the avalanche by admitting significantly more out-of-state and international students, who pay tuition almost triple that of resident students. For instance, it is notable that in fall 2016, UCD has invited admission to an astonishing 6,759 international students and 3,623 out-of-state students, totaling 10,382 non-resident students. This is out of the total of 28,971 newly admitted students including the 18,589 California resident students who applied for admission to UCD. So this year UCD has admitted 36% more non-resident students while not building anywhere near enough on-campus housing for these non-resident (or resident) students, particularly for the four years they will attend UCD.


While UCD has not yet confirmed how many accepted students have responded to enroll, the projected total school population is estimated to be 37,000 in fall 2016.  UCD will be enrolling at least 9,100 new undergrads including freshman and transfer students, more than ever before, yet UCD has not taken the action needed to house these students on-campus.


An additional issue emerging over recent years was that, many of these non-resident students had been being admitted at the expense of California resident students who were denied admission throughout the UC system.

A California state audit exposed this scandal due to public outcry.  The audit also revealed that the standards for acceptance were being lowered for non-resident students.  State Auditor Elaine Howle stated in the report that “Over the past several years, the university has undermined its commitment to resident students.”


In response, the State legislature has been working on legislation to put a cap on non-resident students and to the lowered standards used by UC to accept the many non-resident students, instead of California resident students.



However, despite these concerns raised by the public and the Legislature, UCD went on to accept 60% more non-resident students in 2015 including 34.4% more international students and 25.5% more out-of-state students and accepted 11.2% fewer California resident students.


In response to UC ignoring concerns regarding so many non-resident students being admitted while California resident students were being denied admission, the State legislature made clear that the UC system needs to correct the situation. As a result, in order to qualify for the budgetary agreement of $25 million funding from the State, UC President Napolitano then stated that all of the UC system would be adding 10,000 additional California students by 2018 as covered in this LA Times article:


5,000 new California resident students were to be frontloaded and added in 2016, and the 2,500 more students in 2017 and the last 2,500 in 2018. However, adding 5,000 California resident students systemwide ( (in 2016) then grew to 6,500, to by January of this year due to the UC systemwide changing the 2015 student population baseline (which dipped lower) to the higher 2014 baseline. It is notable that UCD accepted more undergrads in 2014 than any other UC in the system, undoubtedly due to the Chancellor Katehi’s UCD 2020 Initiative. But it is also interesting that this same this article raises the concerns of the UC campuses and their students, expressing apprehension of their ability to accommodate so many new students so quickly including housing needs. Although President Napolitano mentioned that UC is looking into the provision of 14,000 additional student beds, that number is to be divided up in some undefined way amongst the nine UC campuses, with the goal of building the necessary housing by 2020. However, the housing is needed sooner since the additional 10,000 students will be enrolled by 2018. Furthermore, since UCD has had such a backlog of unmet on-campus housing needs for so many years, plus the deluge of of thousands more students coming before 2020, that UCD alone could easily use all 14,000 beds and more, primarily in the form of on-campus apartments (as opposed to first-year dormitories).

It now appears that UCD will be getting at least 1,000 additional students of the 6,500 (systemwide) new California resident students in fall of 2016.


It also appears that between this new addition of California student residents plus the UCD 2020 Initiative of 5,000 undergrads, plus a significant increase in graduate students, UCD is planning to add 6,000 additional students by 2020. Yet, UCD has not done enough to address or expedite the building of on-campus housing to address its already severe on-campus housing shortage. This is evident because UCD announced last fall that it would not be able to house all of the students they were adding in fall of 2016. Instead of building the on-campus housing needed, UCD is taking significant numbers of apartments in the City off the market, making them unavailable to non-students, by using “master leases” to reserve the units for for UCD students. These UCD “master leases” are making it harder for our workforce and families find rental housing in the City.

Meanwhile, it is important to recognize that there is no mandate for the UCD 2020 Initiative, which is a self-directed accelerated student population growth concept for UCD to try to gain revenue from adding 4,500 more non-resident students. There is no reason why UCD cannot slow down or completely abandon the goal of adding 5,000 more students by 2020. UCD needs to reevaluate its aggressive plan and focus instead on first getting the faculty, staff, facilities and on-campus housing in place. This plan was more about increasing UCD revenue by significantly increasing non-resident student enrollment than it was about expanding UCD’s teaching abilities.  The appendix includes links to articles clarifying the real financial objectives and goals behind the “UCD 2020 Initiative,” and the lack of information how the influx of new students was to be accommodated.


Here is the 2020 initiative Task Force report for reference released in 2012 which had very little information on addressing the on-campus housing needs for such an influx of additional UCD students. Furthermore, in the summary section the report recommended outreach to faculty, staff, students, the state and federal government, and “regional stakeholders”, but did not specifically mention our City government or community which clearly would be significantly impacted.


 9) UCD can dial back its 2020 Initiative at any time, and should do so now

 It is important to understand that UCD’s 2020 Initiative to recruit 4,500 additional non-resident students for more revenue is not mandated in any way by the State or by the UC system. Unlike the 2015 State Legislature agreement with the UC system to accept 10,000 additional California resident students systemwide in exchange for $25 million in state funding, the UCD 2020 Initiative was spearheaded by former Chancellor Katehi, and can be slowed down or stopped at any time.   Regarding the State’s mandate for funding, UCD’s allocation is to accept 1,000 more resident students in 2016. However, together with 2020 Initiative with its unrealistic and accelerated increase of 5,000 more undergrads alone, that adds up to at least 6,000 additional undergrads alone (not including significantly more graduate students) by 2020.

The overly-aggressive “UCD 2020 Initiative” was entirely introduced and advocated for by Chancellor Katehi strictly for the purpose of trying to raise additional revenue by adding 4,500 international and out-of-state students (who pay higher tuition) by 2020. This would mean that 19% of the UCD campus undergrads would be international and out-of-state non-resident students by 2020. But at what cost financially, as well in terms of impacts? It seems clear now that the initiative was ill-conceived, poorly planned and prematurely introduced. It should be dramatically slowed down or halted because it is abundantly evident that UCD lacks the infrastructure to handle this much rapid enrollment growth, as does our community.

Furthermore, UCD acknowledge in March 2013 by now Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter acknowledged that the actual (net) revenue figure for UCD will depend upon the answer to many unresolved questions. This includes the challenges of how the costly infrastructure of significantly hundreds more faculty and staff, as well as facilities and services for adding 5,000, primarily non-resident students, by 2020.


Since these UCD infrastructure costs would carry into the future, the plan appears to have far too much cost, impacts into the future. This is particularly the case since it is apparent that UCD has been expecting the City of Davis to subsidize UCD’s aggressive growth plans with providing the vast majority of the housing for the four years the additional 4,500 non-residents students would attend UCD.

UCD’s own 2020 Initiative task Force, which included representatives from faculty, staff and students, raised the many issues and concerns that an accelerating growth plan would bring with it including the significant funding that would be needed for significantly more faculty, staff, services and facilities.    While raising these issues the Task force did acknowledge that this infrastructure needed to occur on a timely basis for this aggressive growth plan to have any chance to succeed.   The reality is that UCD needed to first have the staffing and facilities in place before moving forward with the 2020 Initiative, but this infrastructure was not in place including what little additional on-campus housing was planned.

The result is that UCD continued to barrel forward and accepted 60% more non-resident students last year and will be accepting even more this year in Fall 2016. This action certainly seems to imply that UCD is trying to get the City to address UCD’s housing shortage. It also looks like UCD was assuming that the City should accept the multitude of impacts and costs this rapid growth will impose on Davis citizens and neighborhoods.

The obvious solution is that UCD needs to dial back on its poorly planned, over-ambitious 2020 Initiative which is significantly and negatively impacting our community in many ways including disrupting our City planning, our community’s slow-growth policies, and adding enormous costs to our City for all of the additional infrastructure needed now and into the future.

UCD needs to take responsibility for its own growth needs now and into the future, particularly because it has over 5,300 acres available.  The City has been providing housing to about 70% of UCD student housing for many years. We are now at a critical turning point where the opportunistic behavior by UCD cannot be allowed to continue. UCD needs to build the on-campus housing needed now for the sake of its students, our City, neighboring cities, and our environment.  In regard to sustainability, UCD building the needed on-campus housing would reduce our carbon footprint significantly in Davis by reducing the commuting needs of more than 34,000 UCD students. Instead of continuing its practice of primarily building low-rise, low-density housing, UCD needs to build more high-rise, high-density on-campus housing where it would work well, and would provide far more needed student housing.  Other California universities have taken this approach and are continuing to do so. With more than 5,300 acres, so can UCD.