UOP enrollment up despite Stockton's problems | Education
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STOCKTON, CA - Stockton's 24 murders this year to date are triple the homicide rate last year. The city is also dealing with a July 1 deadline to reach on a balanced budget or a bankruptcy filing.
Still, despite Stockton's bad press, the University of the Pacific is growing.
"We have record enrollment again this year," said UOP Associate Provost Dr. Rob Alexander. "Our new student enrollment is 3,750 students. That's up 200 from last year."
The university said it saw an increase in transfer students after many public colleges cut funding for programs. Transfer students from community colleges or public universities are enrolling in UOP to take classes no longer offered in their schools.
UOP also has three highly acclaimed academic schools: dentistry, law and pharmacy. Current UOP students said they don't see Stockton's problems as UOP's problems.
"This is our own bubble," said Ajit Shokar, a student from Yuba City. "It doesn't even feel like Stockton when you're on campus."
"I figured if I focus on school and stay on campus, nothing bad will happen to me," said Chris Sanchez, who moved from Sonora to attend UOP.
Stockton's crime reputation is well-known to most students before they enroll. For junior engineering student Isabelle Chit, she said she felt she spent a lot of her time defending her hometown to her fellow classmates her freshman year.
"I would get asked a bunch of questions from my peers like, 'have I ever been robbed or shanked,' just because I'm from Stockton," said Chit.
Summer classes on campus began this week at a time when violent crimes typically surge in Stockton, but Stockton police said the UOP neighborhood is one of the city's safest with a very low crime rate.
"The statistics are posted on our website and we think our crime rate compares favorably with other urban universities," said Alexander.
UOP's campus also offers students a grocery store, movie theater, swimming pool, gymnasiums, and clubs so that students don't have to travel off campus often.
by Leigh Paynter, firstname.lastname@example.org