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Students give high marks to UC education, access

University of California students remain highly satisfied with their education overall, and with their access to courses needed to graduate, according to a survey of UC undergraduates released this week.

Despite dramatic reductions in state funding for higher education and rising enrollment, the 2012 UC Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) shows overall student satisfaction has remained at 82 percent, a number that has been essentially unchanged since 2006.

Seventy-three percent of students reported they were satisfied with their access to courses needed to graduate, a jump from 68 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, 89 percent were satisfied with their ability to get into the major of their choice.

Provost Aimée Dorr said she was gratified by survey results that showed UC undergraduates were as satisfied with their college experience today as they were seven years ago.

“UC has worked hard to protect our academic program in the face of reduced state funding, and these results show that we are succeeding,” Dorr said. “Our students get the classes they need, when they need them, and they’re happy with the quality of our faculty and their access to them.”

Sixty-two percent of students surveyed were satisfied with their access to small classes. Moreover, 85 percent of undergraduates were satisfied with their access to faculty outside of class, while 89 percent reported satisfaction with the quality of faculty instruction.

Student regent–designate Cinthia Flores said the survey results reflected well on how undergraduates felt about the quality and breadth of their education.

“Students are excited about studying at a UC campus and about the interactions they have with faculty,” Flores said. “They value their classroom experiences, but also the wealth of opportunities available to them outside the classroom, such as the study abroad program, internships and community service.”

One important educational opportunity available to UC students is the ability to participate in faculty-led research. UC provides abundant opportunities for this collaboration, with almost three-quarters of students indicating they completed some kind of research-related project, activity or scientific or scholarly research paper.

While overall student satisfaction with the UC experience remained consistently high, undergraduates were less happy about recent tuition increases caused by state budget cuts. Seventy-one percent of UC students said they were concerned about paying for their education, up from 64 percent in 2010, and only 4 percent said college expenses were not a problem for them.

About the survey

The UC Undergraduate Experience Survey is a comprehensive look at the academic and civic engagement of undergraduate students across the University of California system. The survey has been administered every two years since 2002, with the goals of assessing UC’s successes in meeting student expectations of their undergraduate experiences, and suggesting areas for improvement.

The 2012 survey garnered a 36 percent response rate from UC students, or approximately 63,500 current freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

More information about the survey — including detailed data and methodology — is available at

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