The University of California’s effort to recruit more out-of-state students for the extra tuition they pay is having a strong impact on the incoming freshman class, with nonresidents making up 12.3% of the new class, up from 8% in the school year just ended, according to figures released Thursday.
The biggest increases in out-of-state and international students will be concentrated at the three UC campuses that are the most selective, and perhaps most widely known outside California. UC Berkeley will have the largest proportion of such students, nearly 30% of the fall freshman class, up from 23% last fall. UC San Diego and UCLA are next, with about 18% each, also up from last year.
The Merced, Santa Cruz and Riverside campuses will enroll the fewest nonresident freshmen, all at about 3% or less of the class.
UC officials said the increases were made without lowering the universitywide ranks of California freshmen, which will remain at about 35,000 while the number of nonresident freshmen will rise by 62% to 4,925.
UC admissions officials traveled widely last fall to recruit out-of-state students. UC officials emphasize that they are relatively late in pursuing such students and that many other public universities, such as those in Michigan and Virginia, enroll many more. Critics say it is another sign of what they contend is the privatization of California’s public universities in response to state funding declines, and they warn that it will undermine political support for restoring funding.
The university receives an extra $23,000 in tuition from non-California residents, and the UC regents have said they want to cap out-of-state undergraduate enrollment at 10% systemwide. Now, about 6% of undergraduates, including upper classmen and transfer students, are non-Californians, according to Pamela Burnett, the UC system’s interim director of undergraduate admissions. She said it would take several years to reach the 10% cap even though freshman numbers are rising fast.
The enrollment numbers, based on students’ statements that they will attend, were released two days after a new state budget cut an additional $300 million this year from funding for the UC and California State University systems. Burnett said that would not reduce this year’s enrollments, but she was unsure about fall 2012.
“Of course, it’s a huge concern to all of us,” she said.
The enrollment figures also show more Latinos enrolling at UC schools. For this fall, they will be about 26% of California freshmen, up from about 23% this year. The percentage of whites dipped slightly from 26.4% to 26%, and Asians and blacks stayed about the same, about 41% and 4%. Because of technical changes on the admissions application, more students identified themselves as belonging to an ethnic group this year than before.
Rising tuition does not seem to have had much impact on students’ desire to attend UC schools. In fact, although UC campuses offered admission for the fall to about 4% fewer freshmen than the year before, 5% more — 39,989 in all — have said they plan to enroll.