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December 8, 2003

UCSC General Catalog to be published every two years starting in 2004

Beginning with the next edition, the printed version of the UC Santa Cruz General Catalog will be published every two years, rather than annually.

Slated for publication in August 2004, the next printed catalog will be dated 2004-06 and span the academic years 2004-05 and 2005-06.

At the same time, the online version of the catalog will be made more user-friendly and updated more frequently, providing improved timeliness and access to catalog information.

Online, program descriptions will continue to be updated annually, as they are now, but course listings will be updated quarterly, and essential information on fees, expenses, and requirements will be current.

While the decision to publish the catalog biennially has a significant cost-cutting component, it’s also a response to a steep decline at UCSC in demand for printed catalogs.

In the 10 years between 1992-93 and 2002-03, while student enrollment (three-quarter average) grew by 38 percent (from 10,200 to 14,122 students), demand for printed catalogs fell by 37 percent (from 25,000 to 15,700 copies).

For the 2003-04 edition of the catalog, print quantity fell again—to 14,400 books. Since 1992-93, a combination of expanding program content and increasing manufacturing costs have driven the catalog’s unit cost of production up 76 percent (from $1.68 to $2.96 per book).

At the same time, ever-higher mailing costs have pushed up the cost of distribution and, thus, the selling price of mailed catalogs.

The shift in emphasis from print to online information delivery is not simply a response to decreasing demand for a printed catalog, though; it also parallels the campus’s adoption of a more personalized, “self-service” student information model. UCSC is not alone in moving to a two-year catalog: three other UC campuses--UCLA, Berkeley, and Davis--publish their catalogs on a biennial basis, as do many other colleges and universities, public and private, across the country.

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