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January 13, 2009

California must preserve its higher-ed mission

SF Chronicle:

Thanks to California's chronic budget shortages, there isn't any room for Californians in state prisons, on state highways or within the state's medical insurance programs. So why shouldn't there be less room for Californians within the state's most prestigious university system?

Recently, some UC officials suggested that increasing the number of out-of-state and international students could help close deficits within the university system. (In a meeting with The Chronicle editorial board on Friday, UC President Mark Yudof said there are 11,000 undergraduates for whom the UC system gets no state money, putting it $125 million in the hole.)

There is a sound economic reasoning behind this strategy: Students from other states and countries annually pay many thousands of dollars more than in-state students.

They are also often better students because they are generally held to higher admissions standards. And there's plenty of room, and precedent, for the UC system to adopt this strategy. Only about 6 percent of UC undergraduates are non-Californians. Prestigious state universities in Michigan and Virginia, meanwhile, regularly enroll more than 30 percent of their freshman classes from out-of-state students. To quote Yudof, the UC system is "leaving money on the table." (Yudof also said that while he is "leaving all options on the table" as far as increasing revenues, "there is no plan" to increase out-of-state enrollment, and that he "couldn't imagine a worse time to do it.")

Posted by Jim Zellmer at January 13, 2009 4:14 PM
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