Preliminary admissions data from the University of California shows some campuses in the state's premier public university system are admitting more nonresident students – a move that will bring more money to the campuses while also shifting the composition of the student body.
Overall, nonresidents account for 14 percent of admitted students this year, compared to 12 percent last year.
Photo by Patrickniel
Nowhere is the increase sharper than at UC Berkeley, where nonresidents make up 27 percent of admitted students this year, up from 14 percent in 2009.
Susan Wilbur, director of undergraduate admissions for the UC system, said that even though the proportion and number of international and out-of-state students are increasing, these nonresident students are not taking up spaces that could otherwise go to California residents.
She said that the university currently enrolls 15,000 more California resident students than are funded by the state. So the campuses had no choice but to reduce California student enrollment.
While California resident students are partially subsidized by state funding, nonresident students pay the full cost of their education. So while there's a cap on how many California students each campus wants to admit, there is no enrollment target for international and out-of-state students.
"They are bringing more money to the university, which enables us to teach our California students at the same high level that students are used to," Wilbur said.
The shift could be a sign of things to come. The UC Commission on the Future, a panel tasked with devising ways to reform the university in light of decreasing state funding, recommended increasing the number of nonresident students as part of its initial proposals.
The panel suggested UC admit more foreign and out-of-state students as a moneymaking strategy, but the recommendation came with a few significant conditions that raise questions about the potential consequences of such a move.
Specifically, the commission warned the university against admitting nonresident students who are less academically qualified than the overall undergraduate population.
The bump in foreign and out-of-state students came in a year that was the most competitive for California freshman admission in the university's history, Wilbur said. This year, 71.6 percent of California freshman applicants have been offered admission to the university, down from 72.5 percent for fall 2009 and 75.4 percent for fall 2008.
Check out more detailed data on fall admissions at the University of California Web site.