Out of California

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The University of California, struggling over funding shortages this year, looks a little different. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the university system is looking to make up the shortage in state funding by enrolling students who can pay more. As Larry Gordon explains:

More than 8% of UC’s projected 37,151 freshmen will be from out of state or overseas, up from 6% for the school year just ended, according to figures released Wednesday. The change is concentrated mainly at UC Berkeley and UCLA, with Berkeley showing the most dramatic shift. That campus expects non-Californians to constitute 22.6% of its freshman class, double the proportion for last year, the figures show.

Non-Californians are so attractive to the university because they pay much, much higher tuition. California residents pay $9,402.00 a year to attend one of the UC schools. Tuition for out-of-state students is $ 22,021.00 annually.

It’s a rational decision, filling the school with higher-paying students, but it’s not a situation with which the state’s regents are entirely comfortable. The trouble is that once the state university starts to make up the gap in funding from the state by enrolling students from outside, it becomes harder to get money from the state in the future, because the legislature ceases to see the university as a state entity. As the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s Patrick Callan explained:

It doesn’t help to build your case in the state to be revenue-chasing around the country and the world. I understand the financial constraints they are in, but this should have been one of the last resorts, not one of the first.

Then again, California doesn’t rely nearly as heavily on out-of-state students as other universities. Less than 10 percent of UC students are from out of California. Some other public universities draw around 30 percent of undergraduates from out-of-state. Some 70 percent of students at the University of Vermont, admittedly a major outlier, are residents of states other than Vermont. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer