Proposal set to give Californians top priority in UC admissions process
University of California (UC) officials proposed a 20 percent enrollment cap on out-of-state undergraduates on March 6.
The proposal is the first of its kind and is currently being debated by the UC Board of Regents. The regents, who met in San Francisco, initially planned to vote on the proposal on March 16. However, they have decided to continue discussing the matter over the next two months in order to vote in May. If approved, the proposal will be effective starting fall 2017.
According to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein, the proposed policy balances the needs of California students with the benefits those outside students bring — diverse perspectives as well as millions in additional tuition revenue, which added up to nearly $550 million in 2016-17.
Klein stated that the extra revenue from nonresident students — who pay about $27,000 more in annual tuition than in-staters — has helped campuses recruit and retain faculty, add courses, lower overall class sizes and purchase new educational materials. The nonresident revenue has also allowed the UC system to increase financial aid for in-state students by an average of $700 per student.
Despite these benefits, however, there have been calls against the increase in out-of-state student enrollment. Approximately a year ago, lawmakers threatened to withhold $18.5 million in funds if the public university system did not limit the number of students from outside California. In the same year, a state audit was released accusing the UC system of favoring out-of-state students at the expense of in-state students.
UC President Janet Napolitano deemed the state audit as “unfair and unwarranted,” according to UC Santa Barbara’s The Bottom Line. Nonetheless, in recent years, many Californian students and their families have expressed dismay at failing to get into their desired UC campuses despite stellar grades and accomplishments, attributing this at least in part to the increase in the number of out-of-state students.
“I believe in-state students should have priority when it comes to applying for their respective in-state schools,” said Mattie Fritz, an in-state first-year biological science major. “Often parents pay taxes that fund public schools with the intention and hope that their own children can attend those schools.”
On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest in-state applicants already have priority over out-of-state students in the UC admissions process, with 71 percent accepted to at least one campus of their choice, compared with 55 percent for nonresidents, according to the Los Angeles Times.
UC Davis’ website states that the university’s scholarship requirement is satisfied when in-state applicants earn a GPA of 3.0 or better in “A-G” courses taken during the tenth and eleventh grades. Applicants who are not California residents, on the other hand, must earn a GPA of 3.4 or better.
The proposal is seen as worrisome by many faculty and students. In an interview with the Daily Californian, Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) President Will Morrow said the proposal is “counter to the values” of the university and puts at risk the longstanding value of the UC system of “accepting students of the highest caliber and considering other factors later.”
Although around 90 percent of all current UC undergraduates are California residents, the proportion of out-of-state students at certain campuses is much higher than the average, with 24.4 percent at UC Berkeley, 22.9 percent at UC San Diego and 22.8 percent at UCLA. If passed, the enrollment cap could have a larger impact on these campuses.
Written by: Clara Zhao — firstname.lastname@example.org