UC May See Increase in Out-of-State Enrollment

Higher Costs, Less Aid Could Turn Away Many Nonresident Applicants From Enrolling in UC

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As the UC Board of Regents discussed raising the number of nonresident students to 10 percent of the university student population Wednesday, current out-of-state and international students are wondering whether the rising total cost of nonresident attendance - now above $50,000 per year - is warranted compared with private universities who offer superior financial aid.

At the meeting, UC Provost Lawrence Pitts discussed the UC Commission on the Future's proposal to significantly increase nonresident student attendance, citing the extra $100 million in revenue they provide annually to support smaller class sizes and improved educational quality. But many, including Student Regent Jesse Cheng, expressed concern that increasing nonresident enrollment will shift the university's priorities away from California residents, leading the commission to adopt a 10 percent nonresident cap as a compromise between the opposing views.

Some regents and chancellors said even capping the increase is unreasonable considering the benefits nonresident students bring to UC campuses.

"It's a political consideration taken with how the state feels and what effect it might have on (them)," said Regent Norman Pattiz. "In a perfect world, I totally agree the need for a cap is counterproductive."

Nonresident students do not have access to financial aid available to California residents, but the 8 percent fee increase approved by the regents Thursday will not affect their tuition, according to UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez. But individual campuses have additional campus-based fees and costs of living that provide extra challenges for nonresidents.

UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz exceed $53,000 in total expenses for nonresidents, though UC Berkeley tops the list at $53,924.

High costs for nonresident students and a lack of financial aid place campuses at a disadvantage when it comes to recruitment compared with competing universities, according to Tom Lifka, associate vice chancellor for student academic services at UCLA.

Stephanie Malyn, a Kansas native who attended Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., before transferring to UC Berkeley, said her California residency application was denied. As a result, Malyn had to take out emergency loans to pay her fees on time.

Malyn, who turned down a spot at Stanford University because she feared it would be too costly, said she recently discovered she could have attended Stanford at nearly the same cost she is currently paying at UC Berkeley.

"Honestly, had UC informed me prior to enrollment that I would be charged out-of-state tuition, I would not have registered," she said. "It's just unaffordable, and the budget cuts limiting classes and major selections are making it less and less worth the immense debt."

Still, nonresident recruitment has become a top priority for many UC campuses, and the rate of nonresident applications continues to increase despite the cost. Though no systemwide efforts have begun to recruit nonresident students, some campuses have collaborated to recruit students from the Pacific Rim - including China and South Korea - because those students have historically been academically prepared and willing to pay for a UC education, Lifka said.

Over the past three years, UC Berkeley has seen a 150 percent growth in degree-seeking international students, Director of the Berkeley International Office Ivor Emmanuel said. The campus sent representatives to 10 out-of-state and international venues - including Hong Kong, London and Istanbul - this year and is working with the Summer Sessions program to distribute literature to more than 26 countries the program visits as part of a recruitment campaign launched in 2009.

"We've seen nothing but increases," said Walter Robinson, assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions at UC Berkeley. "Nonresident applicants are usually not quite as socioeconomically diverse ... In California, we'll see very low income to very wealthy and all points in between."

Currently, 11 percent of UC Berkeley undergraduates are nonresidents - a number targeted by campus administration to increase to 20 percent over the next five years.

Pitts said campuses such as UCLA and UC San Diego have been accepting more nonresident students than in the past.

"The reasons for this have to do in part with the financial crisis the university is seeing - there's no end in sight," said Bob Cox, manager of the UCLA Office of Analysis and Information Management. "It's an opportunity for the university to broaden its outlook and in a sense expand its mission as a way of preserving its fundamentals, which are to preserve the quality of the university as a whole."


Alisha Azevedo covers academics and administration. Contact her at [email protected]

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