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Current Students: Is Berkeley Underfunded/Overcrowded?

sansculottessansculottes Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
I've heard a lot of rumours about the chronic underfunding of the UC schools. To current students: what is it actually like at Berkeley? Has this actually impacted the quality of your education and your experience?

Replies to: Current Students: Is Berkeley Underfunded/Overcrowded?

  • uesmomof2uesmomof2 Registered User Posts: 409 Member
    Glad you asked. I keep hearing stories about students not being able to graduate in 4 years because they can't get into classes required for their major, etc.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,998 Senior Member
    uesmomof2 wrote:
    I keep hearing stories about students not being able to graduate in 4 years because they can't get into classes required for their major, etc.

    That does not seem to be an actual complaint by students posting on this forum section.

    Some majors do have enrollment caps, so that the number of students in the major does not exceed the capacity of the department to offer the classes needed for all of the students in the major.

    The multi-phase course registration system appears also to be intended to give all students higher priority for about half of their schedules (presumably, students will include their most critical courses in the first registration phase) before any students can register for the rest of their schedules. Departments may also place relatively fine grained restrictions and reservations on spaces in each class (e.g. http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Policies/enrollment.shtml ).
  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad Registered User Posts: 10,277 Senior Member
    Yes, I've been on this site for a long time and I don't recall many students on here complaining about getting classes or lack of funding. There was definitely some hand-wringing during the financial crisis about sustainable funding. Fortunately, state voters passed additional taxes and the state budget surplus has allowed for additional support to UC and keep tuition stable.

    A ranking website called **** allows students to provide comments. A summary of the top complaints about Berkeley are as follows:

    "1. Quality and price of off-campus housing
    2. High academic pressure
    3. Homeless population around campus
    4. An overly accepted drug culture
    5. Rainy weather in the winter
    6. Lack of local hot spots as opposed to San Francisco
    7. A college-town feel that can, at times, feel suffocating
    8. Lack of parking and the non-car-friendly UC policies
    9. The work-related pretentiousness of some students
    10. Bureaucratic/administrative red-tape"

    They also complained of:
    "Expensive: Tuition is a steep $35,752, one of the most expensive rates in the country.
    Expensive to Just Get By: 55% of students surveyed felt that the amount it costs to live while at school was worse than average."

    No real complaints about getting classes and impact on graduation rates.

    Some of the good things surveyors said about Berkeley are:
    "1. Huge, diverse, and intellectually-driven student body
    2. World-renowned and inspiring faculty
    3. Large and abundant academic and athletic facilities
    4. Proximity to San Francisco's cultures and communities
    5. Natural amenities (marinas, parks, trails, ocean, etc. )
    6. DECAL program to start your own class
    7. Academic prestige in professional circles
    8. Cal Football games
    9. Thought-provoking and world-famous speakers
    10. Berkeley's energy"

  • UpMagicUpMagic Registered User Posts: 1,417 Senior Member
    There are some cases of students putting off the required courses until the last year and realize they cannot finish in time and blame the school for it. There are elective courses offered once in every few years and if you don't take it now, you will never get to take it. But that's why I plan the schedule really carefully when it's released several months ahead of registration.
    As far as taking the necessary courses to graduate in time, it shouldn't be a problem for any major.
  • nenolamnenolam Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    In theory, it might be overcrowded-- the student-to-faculty ratio is high as compared to private universities or even other state (non-UC) universities. However, in practice, as a student here, I've never felt like it's overcrowded. Classes are large, yes, but honestly I feel like that hasn't hindered my education all that much other than the rare times I have arrived late and had to sit on the stairs of a lecture hall. As I'm sure some people mentioned, class sizes decrease once you take upper division classes and you can expect to have reasonable sizes of 30-40 people. As far as student life is concerned, I honestly love studying at a college with a huge student population. There are such a diverse pool of students and interests and there are always new, interesting people to meet. Berkeley is awesome in the fact that you're part of this enormous campus with thousands of students, but you can carve out your own niche. I've never had any problems getting my core classes and most people I know could probably graduate in 3-3.5 years if they wanted to.
  • sansculottessansculottes Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    Thanks so much for these responses! I hear so many rumours but it's great to see what actual students say.
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