Tougher Than Ever for Californians to Get Into the University of California

Friday, July 03, 2015

They’re not quite ready to jerk California out of the name, but the University of California announced this week a record-low percentage of state residents accepted for admittance in the fall of 2015. 

Of the 103,117 Californians who applied, 60% were accepted. That’s down from 63% last year and 79% in 1999, according to the Los Angeles Times, which said records don’t go back any farther. The admission rate was 55.2% for nonresidents.

These are preliminary enrollment numbers because students with multiple school acceptances still have to make a choice this summer. The ranks of Californians grow in the fall when kids actually show up.

UC received a record number of freshman applications for the 11th consecutive year. Out of 92,324 (67%) who were admitted for fall 2015, 61,834 were Californians.  Another 20,921 California Community College transfer students were admitted.

International admissions rose 1,742 to 15,317. Out-of-state admissions increased 1,711 to 15,173. California resident admissions decreased 1,039.

The situation varies markedly (pdf) between campuses. Few non-residents (5.2% of admissions) want to attend UC Merced. UCLA is tops (41.7%), followed by UC San Diego (38.9%), UC Davis (35.8%), UC Berkeley (35.5%), UC Irvine (33.9%), UC Santa Cruz (24.5%), UC Santa Barbara (24.2%) and UC Riverside (10.9%). Irvine and San Diego had big increases in non-resident admissions over the year before while in-staters held steady.

The reason for the steady decline in California enrollments is not a secret. UC wants the cash. Out-of-state and international students pay a lot higher tuition and school officials say they would have to cut programs and other expenses without the added funds.

The school has also steadily raised tuition for in-state and out-of-state students for decades. California residents didn’t pay any tuition until the early 1970s. Annual tuition and fees rose to $630 by 1975-76 for residents, doubled 10 years later, hit $4,354 in 1995-96 and $14,460 in 2011-12.   

That year was the first time tuition exceeded state funding and was also the year the school’s tuition was frozen. It stayed that way until UC President Janet Napolitano indicated that she was going to raise tuition 28% over five years unless the state ponied up more money. Governor Jerry Brown countered with a demand for a five-year moratorium on tuition hikes. They compromised on a two-year freeze and reforms that will lower UC costs.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

UC Admissions Data for 2015-16 See Increase in Nonresidents, Reflect State Budget Negotiations (by Ariel Hayat, Daily Californian)

UC Admission Rates Fall to Lowest Levels (by Sharon Noguchi and Sophie Mattson, San Jose Mercury News)

Fewer State Residents Admitted to University of California (by Lisa Leff, Associated Press)

Fewer Californians Got into UC, While Offers to Foreign Students Rose (by Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times)

University of California Goes for the Gold, Ups Out-of-State Admissions (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

UC Student/Workforce Data (University of California)

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