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More non-Californians are offered freshman slots at UC schools

Applicants from other states or countries made up 18.1% of the 72,432 students admitted to at least one of the nine undergraduate University of California campuses, up from 14% last year and 11.6% in 2009, data show.

April 19, 2011|By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
  • Students study at UCLA, where 29.9% of freshman admission offers went to non-Californians. The system says it needs the extra cash they pay.
Students study at UCLA, where 29.9% of freshman admission offers went to… (Los Angeles Times, Mariah…)

The University of California's recent decision to boost its enrollment of out-of-state students for the extra tuition they pay was evident in the higher number of non-Californians offered freshman admission for the fall, according to data released Monday.

Applicants from other states or countries made up 18.1% of the 72,432 students admitted to at least one of the nine undergraduate UC campuses, up from 14% last year and 11.6% in 2009, the figures show. The trend was most dramatic at UC Berkeley and UCLA, where 31.2% and 29.9% of freshman admission offers went to non-Californians.

But fewer out-of-state than in-state students typically accept their UC offers. Officials said they expect the systemwide enrollment of non-California freshmen this fall to end up below 10%, the maximum set by the UC regents in December when they moved to boost the proportion of such students from 6% now. Out-of-state students pay $23,000 more annually than in-state students, money the cash-strapped system says it needs.

Overall, 68.2% of all the 106,186 applicants to UC were accepted by at least one of the campuses to which they applied, a slight increase over the 68% of the year before. However, more students than ever were denied admissions at their first- and second-choice campuses.

"Because of these dire financial circumstances, our campuses have had to make very difficult decisions to turn away highly qualified students who they know would thrive and contribute greatly to the life of their campuses," said Pamela Burnett, UC's interim director of undergraduate admissions.

More than 12,700 students turned away at other UC campuses will be offered a spot at the university's 5-year-old Merced campus, even though they did not apply there. That way, Burnett said, UC will honor the goal of the state's master plan for higher education, which calls on the university to admit all academically eligible applicants, generally in the top 12.5% of high school graduates based on grades and test scores.

Combined with enrollment cutbacks at Cal State campuses and community colleges, UC's push to enroll more out-of-state students threatens to diminish opportunities for Californians, according to William Tierney, director of USC's Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis.

"We are moving in the opposite direction of where we need to go," Tierney said. "We need to be increasing capacity and participation in higher education, and the public sector is decreasing that. I understand why they are doing it, but it's not in the best interest of the state."

UC officials said they expect enrollment of California freshmen to stay nearly the same in fall 2011 as it was last year, about 32,600. They also emphasized that public universities in Michigan, Virginia and Colorado enroll more than 30% of their undergraduates from beyond their borders, triple UC's goal.

UCLA and UC Berkeley once again were the most selective UC campuses. UCLA accepted 25.3% of its applicants and UC Berkeley, 25.5%. Next were UC San Diego, with 34.1%; UC Irvine, 45.5%; UC Santa Barbara, 45.7%; UC Davis, 46%; UC Riverside, 62.2%; UC Santa Cruz, 67.9%; and UC Merced, 78%.

Admitted students have until May 1 to decide whether to attend, and some students may later switch campuses if they are offered admission from waiting lists. About 16,500 UC applicants were wait-listed for at least one campus this year, up from 10,700 in 2010, when the university first used the lists.

Among ethnic groups, Asian Americans continued to make up the largest share of UC admission offers, with 36%, up from 35.4% last year. White students remained at 30.6%, and Latinos increased to 26%, up from 23.3%. African Americans made up 4.1% of the accepted pool, compared with 4.2% last year.

larry.gordon@latimes.com

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