UC Proposes Cap on Nonresident Students


Chelsea Viola
National Beat Reporter

Earlier this month, University of California officials proposed a 20 percent limit on nonresident enrollment, with aims to prioritize California applicants.

As of 2016, the aggregate nonresident student population across the 10-campus system was 15.5 percent, a stark comparison to UC student body of 2007, five percent being out-of-state students.

This proposed cap was a response to threats from California lawmakers to withhold funds of $18.5 million if the UC did not limit out of state students.

Last year, a state audit concluded that the UC was hurting local students by admitting too many out-of-state applicants. The audit called for stricter entrance criteria for nonresident applicants and for expanded recruitment for underrepresented Californian students, particularly African Americans, Latinos, and other minorities.

University of California President Janet Napolitano criticized the audit’s findings as “disappointingly pre-baked” and “unfair and unwarranted.” Napolitano stated that auditors overlooked how nonresident students’ tuition revenue, which added up to $550 million in 2016-2017, allows the 10-campus system to accept more Californian students.

Without this additional revenue from nonresident tuition, which is approximately $27,000 more than resident tuition, Californian students would face higher tuition costs. According to Napolitano, to eliminate nonresident tuition as a revenue stream would result in a spike in in-state tuition, which would be about $2,500 (an approximate 20 percent) tuition increase for the California-resident tuition.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein stated that the out-of-state funds have brought California student enrollment to record-breaking standards this year, an admirable feat given that state-support per UC student has been slashed in half in comparison to 20 years ago.

The additional funds also recruit and retain faculty, add courses to maintain lower class sizes, and boost financial aid for Californians by an average $700 per student, Klein said.

The UC Board of Regents will consider the proposal starting this week. Under this proposal, three UC campuses are exempt from the 20 percent cut-off  UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego  allowing them to keep their current nonresident proportions, all roughly within the 23-24 percent range, but will not be allowed to increase them.

The out-of-state proportions vary across the 10 campus system, from 18.9 percent percent at UC Irvine to less than one percent at UC Merced. According to the 2015-2016 Campus Profile of UCSB, nonresident students comprise 10 percent of the Gaucho student body, with 903 out-of-state students making up four percent and 1,208 students from foreign countries making up the remaining six percent.

California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) called the UC proposal a “mixed bag.” Last year, McCarty proposed to cap nonresident enrollment at current numbers.

“Finally, after all of these years, UC is on the verge of setting a firm nonresident policy that will help us prioritize California kids,” McCarty said. “But we were hoping the cap would be at today’s numbers. It’s close, but it falls a little short.”