In times where the state budget is tight and student fees are on the rise, University of California officials are debating how to account for reduced funding. One option being considered is accepting a greater percentage of out-of-state and international students, whose heightened tuition fees will increase revenue.
This notion will open opportunities for nonresident students but opponents say this action will close the admission gap for qualified Californian students, said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
“We have an obligation to pay attention to the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates in the state,” he said. “We can’t do it without taking into account that we have that primary obligation. When these students start nudging out students that would otherwise be qualified we have trouble. People that otherwise would be admitted are suddenly not admitted.“
The $20,021 difference between resident and non-resident students is an attractive revenue boost. Fulltime UC undergraduate resident students are charged $9,496.60 annually that covers system-wide, campus-based and health insurance fees. Fulltime UC undergraduate nonresident fees are $30,104.60 annually.
For every non-resident student there is certainly additional revenue. A total would be a function of the number of non-resident students attending.
Of UC’s 220,000 undergraduate and graduate students, about 10 percent are from outside California. About 6 percent of the undergraduates are non-Californians.
“Right now there is really only one campus – that’s Berkeley – that has a lot of out-of-state and foreign students,” the Chancellor said. “They are up around 10 percent. The rest of us, are much closer to 1 to 3 percent.“
In 2008 UC Davis had a total of 31,426 undergraduates, graduates and professional students. Students from outside California and international students made up .08 percent of UC Davis‘ non-resident population last year. Non-residents make up .04 percent of the 24,209 undergraduates.
In a Jan. 4 Los Angeles Times article, UC regent Judith Hopkinson said that having more out-of-state students could serve as a substitute for state budget cuts.
In the article, Hopkinson was quoted as saying “We ought to look at [admitting more nonresident students].” “Because I believe it is in the financial benefit of the university in the long run, I like to keep an open eye to all options,” she said.
Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, also a UC regent, believes it would be a “serious mistake” to pursue more non-resident students and agrees that Californian students should be the first priority.
“To chase after [out-of-state students] would clearly deny opportunity to California students,” he said. “The amount of revenue that could be raised is insufficient to warrant loss of opportunities for Californians who they or their parents have been paying taxes for years to support the universities.“
Cultural diversity is still an important component to UC campuses and officials.
“There are a lot of students of other states and countries as undergraduates and graduates at UC‘s, and that’s very important the average normal participation be maintained,” the Lt. Governor said. “That brings diversity of culture to universities and it’s a very important part of the educational experience. However, to expand beyond the historic average in pursuit of money to fund universities is a terrible policy and should not be pursued.“
One result may be higher admissions standard for in-state students to be accepted, ultimately improving school standing in GPA and SAT scores as well as national rankings. Out-of-state students are already evaluated based on higher standards.
Chris Carter, Director of Administrative Budget and Budget Operations at UC Davis‘ Office of Resource Management and Planning, said historically the non-resident tuition is intended to offset the state contribution of undergraduate education.
“Non-residents would be covering their own costs,” Carter said. “Non-resident tuition has not been historically pegged to a calculation of what that cost would be. It has been a function of a lot of discussion and negotiation at the university and state level.“
Non-resident tuition used to be collected and transferred to a system-wide office as part of the general fund that is redistributed amongst the campuses. UC Davis did not directly receive revenue from non-resident students, although some additional fees were returned to the campus via general fund disbursements; that policy changed this year as revenue is now kept at a campus level. There is a reduced general fund based on non-resident tuition collected in 2007 to 2008.
“So right now the money stays on campus,” Carter said. “So if we enroll more students there is a direct increase in revenue. The risk is with us, not system wide.“
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at email@example.com.