Record Number of UC Freshmen Are from Out of State

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Maybe there should just be a rule that no students are allowed to attend college in their home state. That way, universities could maximize the windfalls they have collected in recent years by favoring students who are willing and able to pay much higher out-of-state tuition without getting flack from taxpayers.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday the not-unexpected news that the University of California (UC) will probably admit a record number of out-of-state freshmen in the fall. Although university officials tout the benefits of increased diversity, the prime motivation is money. The students, from all around the country and the world, will bring an extra $400 million with them to the schools. 

The university told the Times that no in-state student is denied admission to the nine-campus UC system because of the change in admission policy the past few years. Even if that were true, being admitted to UC Merced might not placate the California student who in the recent past might have earned a spot at UCLA.   

But Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute in San Jose, told the Sacramento Bee it was not. “California students are being turned away,” he said, warning that pulling in out-of-state money could dampen the state’s enthusiasm for providing financial support in the future.

Texans, especially Governor Rick Perry, like to badmouth California. However no state is planning to send more freshmen (258) to UC schools. Texas is followed by Washington State (249), New Jersey (210), New York (200) and Illinois (168).

But no state approaches UC’s favorite source of out-of-state bucks, China, which plans to send 2,983 freshmen in the fall. China is followed by India (285), South Korea (189), Canada (145) and Hong Kong (119).

Tentative admissions (pdf) of foreign students are up 18% since last year and 51% since 2012-2013. Out-of-state admissions are up 9% since last year and 25% since 2012-13. California students are pretty much flat-lined. Admissions are up 1.7% since last year but down half a percentage point since 2012-13.

The surge in out-of-state students corresponds to brutal cuts in support from California’s General Fund after the economic meltdown in 2007. Even with restoration of some cuts the past two years, the university has balanced its books by raising tuition and fees and turning away from native Californians who pay much less to attend an in-state school.

Not every school in the UC system reaps the same benefits from looking outside California. UCLA is expected to have 30.1% out-of-state freshmen, followed by UC Berkeley (29.8%) and UC San Diego (28.4%).

But they aren’t the only schools chasing out-of-state dollars. UC Riverside reportedly got a $9 million return on its $900,000-a-year recruiting investment. UC Santa Cruz would like to kick its outside enrollment up from 2% to 10% and has spent $510,000 the past three years soliciting the big money.

So, while UC is starved of funding and the state expands education for non-Californians, who may be inclined to take their knowledge and skills home, lawmakers bemoan a perceived local dearth of highly-educated workers and facilitate their importation at bargain-basement prices.

In reality, the Economic Policy Institute reported in 2013 that only half of U.S. college graduates in science, engineering, math and technology found jobs in those fields, while at least a third of IT jobs were going to foreign guest workers.

California is developing an odd labor force.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

University of California Steps Up Out-of-State Recruiting (by Alexei Koseff, Sacramento Bee)

A Record Number of Out-of-State Students Brings Windfall for UC System (by Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times)

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

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