In the midst of college application season, the University of California system has recently announced that it is considering cutting down out-of-state enrollment. Back in 2009, after the recession, the University of California began admitting more out-of-state students than ever before because those students pay triple the tuition of California residents. Despite the fact that UC schools are accommodating the additional amount of out-of-state students on campus by increasing the overall undergraduate population, many California residents have since complained that UC schools are not prioritizing California students, depriving them of admission to what could potentially be their top-choice university. Regardless of these complaints, the UC system should continue to admit out-of-state students as long as the schools do not admit a higher percentage of out-of-state students than California residents.
With nine undergraduate campuses, the UC system offers a wide variety of distinguished universities for students to choose from. Of those nine, six of the campuses are listed in the top 50 public schools in the nation on U.S. News and World Report. Because of the prestige surrounding the schools, especially UCLA and UC Berkeley, applications from both in-state and out-of-state students will only increase throughout the years. By reducing the amount of out-of-state students admitted to UC schools, the system is denying admission to students who might fulfill admissions requirements as well as — or even better than — in-state applicants.
In addition, in-state students already have a better chance of getting admitted to UC schools, as all public institutions prioritize state residents. Though out-of-state admission chances are increasing, these admission standards are steep in comparison to those of an in-state student. Because in-state students already receive an advantage in admissions for UC schools, they should not feel intimidated by out-of-state students who face slimmer chances of admission, despite overall better test scores or higher grade point averages.
Price-wise, out-of-state students, like international students, pay higher rates of tuition. Before the new admission standards in 2009, the average UC school admitted only 6 percent of out-of-state students. Now, the average has increased to 20 percent.
Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has argued that the UC system must not forget that “the university’s job is to educate Californians first, the California taxpayers who pay for it.” Yet, when it comes to that education, diversity is a valuable factor — and out-of-state students provide that. If UC schools return to their old admission practices, then campuses will lose out on students who come from a broader range of cultures and various walks of life.
Many California residents want to attend UC schools not only for their prestige, but also for their lower tuition rates. At $12,192 for tuition, many in-state families believe attending a UC school is expected. Despite the economy’s comeback, UC schools have become dependent on the extra money they receive from out-of-state students to maintain class sizes and provide financial aid for California residents. If UC schools have to decrease admission to out-of-state students, however, the universities might have to increase the overall tuition for in-state students, detracting from one of the main perks of attending a UC school. In-state students rely on the low cost of tuition, especially families who do not qualify for financial aid or receive any form of scholarship. UC schools need to continue admitting out-of-state students in order for California residents to pay a fair, lower cost of tuition.
Though UC schools are admitting an unprecedented amount of out-of-state students, those students have become a necessity to the UC system. By reducing the amount of out-of-state students admitted to UC schools, the UC system, as well as each individual campus, will suffer. The universities’ financial stability and sense of diversity should be seen as something welcome, not something intimidating. As long as the admission rate for out-of-state students remains at roughly 20 percent, the UC system should not change its admission standards just to accommodate worried residents.