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Numbers of freshmen from outside California increase at three UC campuses

Numbers of freshmen from outside California increase at three UC campuses
The main library at UC San Diego, where the number of international students is rising. (Erik Jepsen / UC San Diego Publications)

The ranks of UC freshmen from other states and nations will rise substantially this fall at the Irvine, Davis and San Diego campuses, even as the controversially high numbers of non-Californians will remain about the same as last year at UCLA and UC Berkeley, new enrollment numbers show.

The share of the incoming freshman class who are not state residents is expected to increase from 27.4% last year to 33.3% this fall at UC San Diego; from 20.3% to 27.1% at UC Irvine; and from 17.1% to 26% at UC Davis, according to preliminary counts of students who have indicated they will enroll.

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The overall number of California freshmen will dip somewhat at the Davis and Irvine campuses but will increase at San Diego, where the incoming class appears to be expanding the most of the nine UC undergraduate campuses.

In the last few years, UC boosted recruitment and enrollment of students from outside the state to offset cuts in state funding. This year, those students will pay $24,700 extra in addition to the regular $12,200 UC tuition, a 5% increase overall for them. Tuition for California undergraduates will remain frozen for the fourth year in a row.

The fast increase in the ranks of those non-Californians at UCLA and UC Berkeley triggered protests from families and state lawmakers who are concerned about access to the two campuses where admission is the most competitive.

In March, UC President Janet Napolitano promised to cap out-of-state enrollments at UCLA and UC Berkeley, and that promise appears to have been kept. According to statistics released Thursday, freshmen from other states and countries will constitute 29.2% of UCLA's incoming class, the same share as last year. At Berkeley, that share will drop slightly, from 29.2% to 28.9%.

Napolitano's pledge did not extend to other campuses that have increasingly attracted international applicants, particularly those from China and other parts of Asia. The numbers of international students are up sharply at Irvine, Davis and San Diego but not at Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz.

The Legislature is offering a $25-million bonus if UC increases the number of California undergraduates by 5,000 for the 2016-17 school year. In the spring, some UC officials said they were uncertain whether such a target could be reached but this week UC spokesman Steve Montiel said Napolitano is pushing campuses to "to reach that goal."

Across all nine UC campuses, 34,047 freshmen from California have said so far they will attend this fall, 1,121 fewer than last year; they will constitute 77.5% of freshmen, compared with 80.5% last year.

Non-Californians are expected to increase by 1,403 to 9,910, rising from 19.5% of freshmen to 22.5% systemwide, the preliminary figures show.

Kevin Sabo, president of the UC Student Assn., said there are benefits in having classmates from outside California. "They do add to the diversity of our university," he said.

But he said that having their share of undergraduate student bodies more than 20% feels uncomfortable and that many California students don't believe the extra tuition from those nonresidents keeps costs down for everyone else.

Sabo, a UC Berkeley student, said UC administrators and state government leaders share responsibility: UC is to blame for extending the trend of large out-of-state enrollments beyond UCLA and Berkeley, and the state is to blame for not giving UC enough funding.

Continuing a trend of the last few years, the Latino share of UC freshmen from California continues to rise, from 29.8% last year to 30.2% this fall. Asians from within the state again make up the largest ethnic group of first-year students, 39.2%, compared with 39.3% last year. Whites are 22.3%, down from 23.1% and blacks remain at 4.1%.

The relatively low numbers of African Americans has been a matter of concern. UCLA's freshman class will have the system's highest share of African American freshmen: 5.8%, up from 5.1% last year. However, UC San Diego will have the lowest share, 1.9%, down from 2.3%.

UC San Diego is studying why black students who are offered admission are not enrolling, according to the UC regents. Five years ago, that campus experienced several racially divisive incidents, including an off-campus party that mocked Black History Month. Black students say that those events still hurt the school.

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In addition, UC Berkeley on Thursday announced several measures aimed at raising black enrollment, such as the start of what is hoped to be a $20-million private scholarship fund.

Follow me @larrygordonlat

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