Why Fewer Transfers to the University of California?

According to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News, the University of California system has seen a huge increase in applications, but fewer transfer applications. As Matt Krupnick writes:

Bucking a recent trend and thwarting efforts to increase transfers, fewer community-college students than last year have applied to the University of California system for the fall 2012 term.

Nearly 1,800 fewer students applied for transfers to the 10-campus university than a year ago despite a record 160,939 undergraduate applications overall, according to figures released Thursday.

In contrast, applications for freshman positions increased 19 percent over last year. Administrators don’t know what’s going on here, why there are fewer people applying to transfer into the schools from the state’s community colleges. Krupnick:

Higher education leaders were at a loss to explain the change in transfers.

“We’re still exploring that,” said Kate Jeffery, the interim UC admissions director. She theorized that budget cuts made community-college students unable to get the classes they need to transfer. “We think the most likely explanation is a pipeline issue.”

Um, here’s a thought: The University of California is $1,068 more expensive than it was last year. The total cost of tuition at a UC school is now $12,192 a year.

In contrast, transfer applications to the California State University system increased 6 percent over last year. Tuition at Cal State schools is $5,472.

It’s also worth pointing out that the UC system is now actively seeking out-of-state students and admitting fewer Californians. I’m not sure if this can said to be a cause of reduced transfer applications, but it sure doesn’t make the UC system look welcoming.

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