Assembly Bill May Limit Out-of-State Enrollment

California Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Jose Medina (D-Riverside) introduced a proposal to cap non-resident UC System enrollment at 15.5 percent on Jan. 26.  Assembly Bill 1711, if passed, would also require that 50 percent of tuition paid by non-resident students be used to help finance resident student enrollment. 

Supporters of the bill note that, although they appreciate the added diversity and experiences of international and out-of-state students, the UC system must primarily support California residents.

“The University of California continues to rapidly increase its out-of-state enrollment, rationing access at the expense of California’s students,” McCarty told the UCSD Guardian. “As a public university, the UC system’s commitment should be first and foremost to ensure access for deserving Californian students, especially when applications are at an all-time high and the state included $25 million to expand resident enrollment by 5,000 students. AB 1711 will refocus the UC’s commitment to strike a balance to ensure access for California’s students and others wanting admittance.”

In November, the UC Office of the President pledged to admit 10,000 more California students over three years, including 5,000 freshmen and transfer students for the 2016–17 school year  UCOP expects to receive $25 million from the state and will contribute another $25 million from their own budget to fund this endeavor. In addition to requesting $6 million to enroll 600 more graduate students, the UCOP plans to increase fundraising and possibly increase out-of-state tuition to pay for more California students.

A.S. Vice President of External Affairs Krystl Fabella disagrees with UCOP’s plan, citing that UC campuses do not have the resources to add more students to already crowded campuses. 

“It was already shocking at 5,000; any student on the ground dealing with these daily struggles will know that our campus is not ready to take on even 1,000 more students by Fall 2016,” Fabella told the Guardian. “It’s simply unrealistic. If the regents and President Napolitano are able to take on the initiative to bring in 10,000 more students, they can very well map out a plan to improve conditions for the 240,000 existing ones.”

According to the UCSD budget for undergraduates, out-of-state and international students pay $24,708 in supplemental tuition in addition to the $13,577 in-state tuition fees per year. A 2010 UC Commission report recommended that “the [University of California] allow campuses to increase the number of undergraduate nonresident students … to sustain current instructional capacity and quality.” 

Last year, 1,600 fewer California freshmen were admitted to the nine UC campuses while the number of international students grew by 4,700. In fall 2015, nonresidents made up 33.3 percent of the incoming freshmen at UCSD compared to 27.4 percent in 2014. UC Berkeley and UCLA already have caps at 30 percent of the student population. Assemblymember Medina noted that climbing numbers of out-of-state and international students prompted the bill.  

“Unfortunately, despite a strong directive and additional funding from the Legislature, recently released data shows that UC continued to grow its nonresident population while serving fewer California students,” Medina said in a statement. “It is clear that additional statutory guidance is necessary to ensure all qualified California students have a fair chance at a world class UC education.”

AB 1711 will be available for legislative hearings in spring.