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Spring 2003
The Challenge
Going After the Best
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The Price of Excellence
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Spring 2003
Going After the Best
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UCLA is addressing student-funding issues in several ways. Increasing fellowship resources through gifts and endowments is now a major priority of the development campaign. Faculty are seeking training grants from federal agencies and private foundations to provide additional support. The Graduate Council, Graduate Division and special campus committees are exploring ways to use existing resources more effectively to enhance competitiveness. Construction has begun on a graduate-student housing complex, with the initial phase scheduled for occupancy in Fall 2004. These efforts are designed to enhance our capacity to recruit and retain the best graduate students.

APPLICANTS TO DOCTORAL PROGRAMS typically approach five or more universities. UCLA is competing with a select group of research universities for the very best students — Berkeley, Stanford, University of Chicago, Caltech, Princeton, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern and Columbia, to name a few. Among doctoral students admitted to UCLA in Fall 2001, 48 percent were admitted to at least one other UC campus and 86 percent were admitted to non-UC programs.

A student’s decision about where he or she will do doctoral studies is primarily influenced by academic factors. They seek a program with a solid academic reputation — of which UCLA has an abundance — one that offers areas of specialization relevant to their interests and the opportunity to work with particular faculty. Next in importance is the amount and type of financial support, including guarantees that support will continue throughout the time required to complete the degree. Other notable factors include location of the campus, availability of affordable housing, presence of diverse faculty and students, size of the degree program, time to degree and job-placement success.

A study conducted by the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in 2001 asked 1,084 Ph.D. applicants admitted to both a UC and a non-UC campus how they reached a decision on which to attend. Respondents rated both UCLA and competitor campuses excellent on academic factors, and students were not likely to choose another program for this reason alone. Rather, the decision of students who chose not to accept UCLA’s offer often was based largely on economic considerations.

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