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EDUCATION WATCH : Interstate Connection

May 31, 1993

By the end of this decade, California is projected to need seats for an additional 400,000 students in its community colleges, 160,000 more in the California State University and 150,000 more in the University of California.

Those seats are not going to be there. Thanks to budget cuts, enrollment (not demand!) is already down 13,000 at CSU campuses, 16,000 in the community colleges.

As a result, enrollment in the independent colleges and universities of the state has risen by about 5%. A less noticed development, however, has been a sudden increase in Californian enrollment at other Western state universities. The number of Californian freshmen at the University of Oregon is up 50%.

Some Californians have become residents of the adjacent states in order to enroll. Others have paid the higher out-of-state tuition rate. But an arrangement that was interest-driven is now scarcity-driven. The universities of Oregon and Washington, to name just two, are so small by comparison to California's student population that those states may begin denying residency to out-of-staters so long as they are in college.

Affluent Californians may be willing to pay the non-resident tuition. Generally, out-of-state study has been an option for the affluent. Poorer Californians, however, some Latinos and African-Americans especially, will continue to lack that option. But whatever lies ahead, California's education problems are no longer California's alone. Political and educational leaders alike would be well-advised to begin some interstate consultation.

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