COURTESY OF BERKELEY.EDU

The University of California’s move in recent years to increase the number of out-of-state students has hurt California residents’ ability to gain admission into UC campuses, according to a state audit released Tuesday that was quickly challenged by UC.

Nonresident enrollment at the 10-campus system increased by 82 percent, or by 18,000 students, between 2005-06 and 2014-15, while in-state enrollment has dropped by 1 percent, or 2,200 students, according to California Auditor Elaine Howle.

“Over the past 10 years, the university began denying admission to an increasing number of residents to the campuses of their choice,” Howle said in the audit, adding that the university’s actions have caused “significant harm to state residents and their families.”

In its own report Tuesday, UC sharply criticized the state auditor’s findings, calling them “false and misleading.”

UC President Janet Napolitano, who received a draft of the audit earlier this month, said the 250,000-student system continued to guarantee admission to every high school graduate and community college transfer student who met the minimum admissions requirements while the state cut a combined $1 billion in funding following the recession.

However, even as qualified applicants received blanket admission into the system, a growing number were turned away from universities that were their first and second choices.

Photo from Flickr

UC President Janet Napolitano (Photo from Flickr)

The state’s Master Plan for Higher Education requires the UC system to enroll the top 12.5 percent of California’s high school graduates, but does not set targets for individual campuses.

Napolitano said the growth in nonresident students, who pay nearly triple the tuition that California students do, has allowed the system to generate $800 million annually to support programs and services for resident students.

According to the audit, nonresident students have benefited from lower admission standards than their in-state peers, giving nonresident students an unfair advantage when applying to popular universities such as UCLA and Berkeley. That has forced more California students to be denied admissions into these highest-demand universities, the audit stated.

But UC’s report contended that nonresident students don’t displace Californians. Instead, the additional revenue generated by the out-of-state tuition allowed the system to enroll thousands more California students than it could otherwise afford.

Napolitano said that increasing state funding to higher education is the best way to boost the number of California students at the UC.

Last year’s state budget agreement provided an additional $25 million to help grow in-state enrollment by 10,000 over the next three years.

Meanwhile, Howle used the state audit to call for lawmakers to cap nonresident enrollment at UC campuses at 5 percent. In 2014-15, nonresident students made up 17 percent of the total UC enrollment.

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  1. Dawn Urbanek 3 years ago3 years ago

    Did anyone ever notice that a large population of very High Achieving California residents were only accepted to Merced?

    These students opted to go back east at twice the price rather than be dumbed down by a system that values everyone except residents.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

      Just to explain how that happens: UCLA and Cal are extra competitive, though most of the UC schools are competitive. If (say) UCLA is the ONLY UC school a student applies to, which is perfectly likely, the competition is really tough, and the process doesn't allow for offering the student other UCs in some kind of progression. The qualified student is simply offered UC Merced. So if the student had applied to UCLA, UCSC and … Read More

      Just to explain how that happens: UCLA and Cal are extra competitive, though most of the UC schools are competitive. If (say) UCLA is the ONLY UC school a student applies to, which is perfectly likely, the competition is really tough, and the process doesn’t allow for offering the student other UCs in some kind of progression. The qualified student is simply offered UC Merced. So if the student had applied to UCLA, UCSC and UC Irvine, say, he/she might well have gotten accepted to both UCSC and Irvine, but if the very same student applies to only UCLA among the UCs, and doesn’t make the cut (based on the judgment in the admissions process), the only alternate offer is Merced. Does that make sense? AND my guess is that a lot of students with high ambitions would apply to prestige private colleges and maybe only one or two most-prized UCs, not an array. (When we did this, 2012, the application fee was $55 per UC campus.) Hope this explanation is helpful.

      • Maya 3 years ago3 years ago

        Thanks Caroline. We’ll be applying in another year. This is good information to have. Maybe the process needs to change in that there is some type of progression?

        • CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

          If you think about it, the movement after the first round of acceptances really complicates things for admissions people at any college (or any school) trying to simply fill the openings, though, so I suspect that would be impossibly complicated. If you really want a UC and you know the student meets the basic qualifications (A-G courses, a certain GPA, requisite SAT results), the smartest thing seems to be to apply for as many as … Read More

          If you think about it, the movement after the first round of acceptances really complicates things for admissions people at any college (or any school) trying to simply fill the openings, though, so I suspect that would be impossibly complicated. If you really want a UC and you know the student meets the basic qualifications (A-G courses, a certain GPA, requisite SAT results), the smartest thing seems to be to apply for as many as you find acceptable — unless the application fee is absolutely impossible. (I’m not sure of the current status of waiving/covering application fees for low-income families).