University of California Bait and Switch Part Two

Bob Samuels:

In my last post, I discussed how UC was fulfilling its obligation to accept every eligible Californian student by admitting them to Merced instead of Berkeley and UCLA. I also pointed out that some campuses are cashing in on the new policy that allows schools to keep all of the tuition dollars they generate. The end result of this system is that some campuses have a huge incentive to accept a high number of non-resident and international students and reject a great number of students from California.

During recent meetings with state officials, I warned that we will see a backlash from Californian residents who feel that their deserving children are being shut out of an institution the parents have helped to support, and in fact, there has been a constant stream of editorials and letters voicing this concern. In one recent article, we are told the following: “As more California high school seniors fight for spaces at popular UC campuses, the universities have flung open their doors to students from other states and countries, more than tripling the ranks of out-of-state freshmen in the past five years. Freshmen from outside the Golden State now make up almost 30 percent of their class at UC Berkeley and UCLA, up from just over 10 percent four years earlier.”

When I presented these statistics to state officials, I was told that the implicit arrangement was that UC had to maintain its current number of in-state students even though the governor has removed enrollment targets from his recent budgets. However, recent statistics so that it is unclear if this deal is being upheld: “The UC system enrolled about 700 more California freshmen in 2013 than in 2009, a 2 percent increase, and nearly 5,000 more freshmen from other states and countries — a 273 percent increase. About 57 percent of the added spots went to international students, and 30 percent to students from other states, while about 12 percent went to Californians. UC Berkeley enrolled 800 fewer California freshmen this academic year than in 2009, but it accepted about 580 more from other states and about 500 more from other countries.” Although we still do not know about actual enrollments, it should be clear that UC has changed its admission priorities.