Signs of things to come

Recently released admissions data for the UC system is a reminder of how dire our financial straits have become.

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UC admissions data released Monday by the Office of the President held few surprises but served to remind us of the financial realities affecting the university.

The data are indications of the changes in store for the campus and the university as a whole - while 87 percent of current UC Berkeley undergraduates are California residents, only 69 percent of applicants admitted to the campus were from in-state. We have written before: Increasing the number of nonresident students in the university is one of the least detrimental ways of mitigating the financial crisis in the short term, as it raises revenue without compromising academic quality. Nonetheless, increasing admissions cannot alone fully address the university's funding gap. According to the UC Commission on the Future, each 10 percent increase of non-resident students would generate only $9.8 million.

Increasing the number of non-California residents comes at an additional cost - that of decreased access to higher education for Californians. Legislators should recognize in these statistics the potential for a human capital deficit in California and should be spurred to protect the state's economic future by better supporting the higher education system.

Until this greater state support occurs, changes in admissions statistics will be the tip of the iceberg. Campuses continue to face greater and greater cuts, tuition will continue to increase, and the UC risks losing its prestigious place as a model for American higher education. It is only by a concentrated effort by policymakers that the university can escape this fate.

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