UC, CSU Pushed to Cut Low-Enrollment Programs

Tim Goral's picture

It sounds like an obesity epidemic in higher education: program bloat.

But rather than some sort of elephantine curriculum, the phrase refers to the hundreds of degree programs at California's public universities with fewer than 10 graduates in a given year - at a time when many students are turned away from more popular programs because of budget cuts.

A new study out Sunday from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni calls on the universities to eliminate low-enrollment programs or offer them jointly across campuses or online for efficiency.

"It's just not sustainable, nor do you do your best work with so few students," said Michael Poliakoff, the council's policy director.

Last year, the University of California had 792 programs with fewer than 10 students receiving a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, according to the report, which relied on data reported by the universities to the federal government for 2011.

For example, five of UC's 10 campuses graduated a total of 14 undergraduates in "geophysics and seismology" last year. At UC Berkeley, six students got a master's in anthropology. Four got a master's in German studies.

Read more