UC admits more foreign, out-of-state students

The University of California admitted 43% more out-of-state and international freshmen than last year, significantly boosting its controversial efforts to enroll those higher-paying students, according to data released Tuesday.

As a result, officials said they expected the share of the upcoming freshman class from outside California to be somewhat higher than the 12.3% this school year but said the actual proportion remains uncertain because non-Californians are less likely to enroll than resident students.

UC offered fall entrance to 61,443 California students to at least one of its nine undergraduate campuses, an increase of 3.6% from last year.

Transit: An April 16 Op-Ed article about the 30/10 transit plan in Southern California referred to a 72-22 Senate vote on a two-year transportation bill. The vote was 74 to 22. —

It also admitted 18,846 students from other states and countries, up from 13,144 the previous year. Those students would each pay an extra $23,000 a year and help plug the budget gaps caused by reductions in state funding. Students have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll.

UC hopes to raise the overall enrollment of non-Californians to 10% of all undergraduates in a few years, up from the current 6.9%, although UCLA and UC Berkeley already have much higher shares of out-of-staters.

Kate Jeffery, UC’s interim director of undergraduate admissions, said Tuesday that more California students “are being squeezed out” of their first- or second-choice campuses, and she blamed cuts in state funding, not the rise in out-of-state admissions. However, she insisted that all students who meet UC’s academic requirements are being offered a space somewhere in the system, with UC Merced as the backup if all other campuses have rejected them.

Because applications from state residents increased substantially and enrollment is not expanding much, it got harder for Californians to find a spot in UC. The situation may have been inadvertently worsened by changes this year in UC admissions criteria that were approved before the state budget crisis and were intended to expand the application pool; those reforms included dropping the requirement that students take two supplemental SAT subject exams, although the main SAT or ACT tests are still mandatory.

Overall, the admissions rate for California students declined from 69.7% last year to 65.8% for fall 2012. And non-Californians faced a similar trend: 53.9% of out-of-state students in the U.S. were admitted, down from 60.7% last year, and about 61.3% of foreign applicants, compared to 64.1% in 2011.

UCLA again was the hardest UC campus to crack for Californians, with only 17.7% offered entrance at the Westwood school. Next came Berkeley, 22.7%; San Diego, 32.1%; Irvine, 33.6%; Santa Barbara, 41%; Davis, 44.5%; Riverside and Santa Cruz, both 61.6%; and Merced, 76.5%.

When non-Californians are included in the acceptance rate, UC Berkeley had a slight edge for being the most selective UC campus, offering a spot to 21.2% of all applicants compared with 21.3% at UCLA.

California families are right to be outraged to see their high-achieving children turned down at some campuses while non-residents are getting in, said Patrick Callan, who is president of the Higher Education Policy Institute, a think tank in San Jose.

As California residents and state legislators come to feel less connected to the university, UC will be less likely to have its funding boosted when the economy improves, he said. “It’s a mistake and it’s a disservice to the people of California,” Callan said of the rising ranks of out-of-state students. “I think it is a short-term benefit that really does compromise the university in the long term.” Instead, UC should cut duplications in graduate academic programs, he said.

Jeffery, however, noted that the proportion of non-Californian undergraduates at UC “is still very small and certainly small compared to some other public institutions in other states.” She added that out-of-staters and foreign students add cultural diversity and different perspectives to campuses.

Eight campuses increased their number of admissions offers to non-Californians. Only UC Berkeley, which already attracted controversy for enrolling 30% of its current freshman class from out-of-state, pulled back, cutting those admissions by 12.5%.

UCLA and UC Irvine took in more freshman than anticipated last year and decided to reduce their numbers of admissions offers to California freshmen to compensate for that, officials said. UCLA cut in-state freshman admissions by 15.1% and Irvine by 16.2%, making Irvine appear noticeably more competitive than in the past.

The proportion of Latinos and blacks offered admission to UC rose slightly from last year, to 27.3% and 4.4% respectively. Asian Americans kept nearly the same share, 36.3% while whites declined, reflecting state demographics, from 30.6% to 28.2%.