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Davis, California

Sunday, September 26, 2021

UC Davis increases number of admitted international students, decreases resident enrollment in 2015

DANIEL TAK / AGGIE
DANIEL TAK / AGGIE

UC Davis remains the highest California resident enrolling campus within UC system

California resident enrollment has dropped throughout the UC system, with the nine undergraduate campuses enrolling 1,600 fewer in-state students in fall 2015 than the year before, including 1,317 fewer resident freshmen.

Walter Robinson, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management at UC Davis, explained that this decline is due to the university working toward becoming an increasingly globally diverse community, though he defends that UC Davis enrolls the most California students out of all of the UCs.

“At Davis, we have more Californians enrolled than any other UC, [and] that is often not part of the conversation,” Robinson said. “The conversation tends to focus more on who’s getting admitted and who’s not.”

The university’s 2020 initiative seeks to increase enrollment at the university, along with increasing the amount of international students admitted. Robinson further explained how the initiative will break down the types of students that will be admitted into UC Davis.

“The majority of those students would be non-resident and a smaller number of those would be California residents,” Robinson said. “The logic behind that was to have global diversity for the campus and also to have the benefit of the revenue that is generated by non-resident fee payers to offset the budget downturn and the declining allocation from the state of California.”

Although an increase in international students is part of the university’s plans, Robinson emphasized that the university will retain its commitment to admitting top-notch students, especially with increased applicant competition.

“I will maintain that every student that we admit we stand behind and we believe that that student should be here,” Robinson said. “More people who are going to be told no, look just as strong as people who we used to say yes to and the people we’re saying yes to today.”

Sydney Kaye, a third-year communication major, believes that international students competing for spots with California residents is fair for California residents.

“I do not believe that it is unfair for international students to be admitted to UC Davis in competition with California students,” Kaye said. “I think with the amount of California students admitted every year, there is room for students from other states and countries.”

With such immense growth planned in the 2020 initiative, Madelyn Smith, a third-year psychology major, has a hard time seeing how the university will be able to adjust to the influx of students in such a short amount of time.

“I immediately think about impacted classes and how much worse the issue will be with an additional 5,000 [students],” Smith said.

Robinson ensures that the university is accounting for the changes that will be needed. For example, the 2020 initiative includes a plan to support up to 300 new faculty positions.

“It isn’t purely about an enrollment plan as much as it is an economic plan,” Robinson said. “We as a campus have been in pursuit of growing and building our own streams of revenue.”

As competition increases throughout the entire UC system, UC Davis is building a platform to reward both domestic and international students who are deserving of admission.

“It’s hard to say that the best students got in,” Robinson said. “Our definition of merit is definitely beyond test scores and definitely beyond grade average.”

The planned increase of enrollment at UC Davis may create various obstacles for the university, but Robinson believes that the university is ready to face whatever comes its way.

“It is extremely challenging, while at the same time rewarding, to wrestle with whatever the challenge of the day might be,” Robinson said. “At this point in time, the challenge is how we can make the University of California accessible to more Californians while at the same time carrying out our responsibility to provide a high quality education experience to all students that come here.”

Written by: Nick Griffen – campus@theaggie.org

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