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State lawmakers vote to cap nonresident enrollment at UC schools

Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Amid outrage over the number of out-of-state students taking spots in the University of California system, the Assembly on Wednesday voted to approve a 10% cap on nonresident enrollment phased in over the next six years.

The measure by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) would require that resident undergraduate enrollment be increased by 5,000 students per year through 2023, and that nonresident enrollment decreased by 1,700 annually during that period.

Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino) told her colleagues that her granddaughter had a 4.0 grade point average but was told to not bother to apply to the UC system because she would not get in.

“It’s unfair that our students are not allowed to get into the colleges that we pay for,” Brown said during the floor debate.

A recent audit criticized the UC system's reliance on nonresident admissions.

Last year, freshman admissions by residents were reduced by 2.1% systemwide from the year before, while nonresident admissions increased by 13.2%, McCarty said.

A legislative report said nonresident students received 34% of offers at UC Berkeley, 41% at UCLA, 39% at UC San Diego and 35% at UC Davis.

Although the vote on the bill was unanimous, Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) warned that the measure might have the opposite effect of what is intended because nonresident students pay higher tuition.

“This would reduce the revenue that UC has,” Williams told his colleagues, adding “it could actually reduce in-state enrollment.”

The measure next goes to the Senate for consideration.


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