Office of Planning and Budgeting

UC System Boosts Nonresident Enrollment

Last year, the UC Board of Regents increased the system-wide cap on nonresident undergraduate enrollment from 6 percent to 10 percent based on final recommendations from  the University of California Commission on the Future. Newly released 2011 UC freshman admissions statistics for all nine campuses show how aggressively UC has moved to increase nonresident enrollment as a result.

Like in Washington, steep state funding cuts have forced California’s public research institutions to rely more heavily on nonresident students who pay, on average, three times the price that resident students pay. As a result, the average percentage of nonresidents (international and out of state) admitted to UC campuses has increased sharply in just two years:

  • 2009: 11.6%
  • 2010: 14%
  • 2011: 18.1%

Note that at the ‘flagship’ UC campuses, Berkeley and UCLA, where the applicant pools are much deeper and acceptance rates much lower, the numbers are much higher. At Berkeley, 31.2 percent of admitted Freshman were nonresidents, and at UCLA, 29.9 percent were nonresidents.

However, the system anticipates that nonresident students will ultimately make up less than 10 percent of the enrolled 2011 UC system freshmen class due to an overall lower yield rate among nonresident admits, and due to the fact that the system offered 12,700 Californians who were denied spots at their preferred UC campuses the option of enrolling at the newest UC campus in Merced even though they did not apply there (this move also keeps UC in compliance with the Master Plan, which requires that the system admit at least the top 12.5 percent of California high school students).

UC notes that, like the UW, while they are increasing nonresident enrollment, they continue to hold nonresident applicants to higher academic standards than residents. They also point out that peer institutions such as the University of Colorado, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia continue to rely far more heavily on nonresident students,  who comprise  over one third of enrolled undergraduates.

While the move to increase nonresident student enrollment at public institutions is sometimes heavily criticized, the tuition rates paid by these students help institutions keep resident tuition down while maintaining the quality of education despite significant funding cuts.

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