University of California System Could Receive Conditional Budget Increase

University of CaliforniaThe two major public university systems in California are currently facing heavy decisions in regards to enrollment and graduation rates because of the state’s new budget and financial incentives approved just this week, by legislators in the state capitol of Sacramento.

Right now, the issue for the 10-campus University of California (UC) system is the rapidly increasing number of students from outside the Golden State. These students are somewhat prized, so to speak, for approximately $27,000 in tuition; more than double the $12,800 per year that in-state students pay to enroll (per year). These out-of-state—and thus higher-paying—students appear to be so coveted, in fact, that a very new and very critical report from the state auditor has accused UC of admitting too many of them, at the expense of residential students, of course.

And so, the state has proposed a new budget that will provide UC with an $18.5 million incentive to enroll 2,500 California residential students by the 2017-2018 school year and if the university system adopts a policy to cap enrollment of non-resident students.

UC system spokeswoman Dianne Klein comments that school authorities are thankful for this increase but, at the same time, the issue originally arose out of a decline in state funding. She notes, “We are fully aware that there needs to be the right balance,” adding “if the revenue from the out-of-state enrollment goes away, we need to fill that gap somehow.”

Of course, UC officials deny that this is the case, arguing instead that the university needs this additional revenue. They cite that only 15.5 percent of UC graduates are non-resident students. But that is throughout the entire 10-campus system. Data shows that non-resident graduate rate is much higher at the Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego campuses. This simple fact has actually caused UC president Janet Napolitano to cap non-resident enrollment as it is at these three campuses. The cap began just last year.

And it looks like Cal State also has a need to expand in-state enrollment, perhaps the need is not quite so urgent. Indeed, this system has not faced the same level of criticism as the UC system has.

According to Cal State spokeswoman Elizabeth Chapin, “That is actually the majority of students that we serve,” noting too, “About 96 percent of students are from California.”

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