California university to admit more locals after outcry

LOS ANGELES • The University of California says it has increased admission offers to Californian freshmen by more than 15 per cent for the autumn semester while reducing offers to international students at two of its prestigious campuses.

The numbers are likely to help defuse a controversy sparked by accusations that the university has rejected Californians in favour of non-residents.

A state audit released in March stoked criticism of the university system for its pursuit of out-of-state and international students who pay significantly higher tuition fees - part of an increasingly controversial national trend in which public universities rely on non-resident tuition fees to fill budget gaps left by declining state appropriations.

The audit said the university had put Californian students, particularly minorities, at a disadvantage, which the university system denied. A detailed chart released by the university showed that 71,178 Californian freshmen had been offered admission to the university's nine undergraduate campuses for this autumn, an increase of 9,344 from last year.

That is a sharp reversal from 2015, when admission offers to Californian freshmen declined by 1,039 from the previous year, spurring protests by parents whose children were denied spots.

While overall admission invitations to out-of-state and international freshmen for autumn also increased - by about 13 per cent each - offers to international students decreased at two of the system's most sought-after campuses, in Berkeley and San Diego. The university also said it had increased admissions of California residents transferring from community colleges by 14 per cent, the largest jump in the system's history.

In a scathing report, the California state auditor concluded that, over 10 years, the university had tripled its population of non-resident undergraduate students, reducing the percentage of resident applicants it admitted to 62 per cent from 77 per cent, while increasing the percentage of nonresidents it admitted to 56 per cent from 48 per cent.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'California university to admit more locals after outcry'. Print Edition | Subscribe