Her Hand Forced, Napolitano Changes Tune on Out-of-State, International Student Enrollment

Published on June 5th, 2017

For years, I’ve opposed the inherent unfairness of large numbers of out-of-state and international students filling university seats that should go to local kids whose families have subsidized those colleges. The problem of out-of-state and overseas students has been particularly acute in California, and has recently become the target of increasing and properly directed criticism.

UC Regents make overdue decision to cap out-of-state enrollments.

Simply put: Freshman seats are largely fixed in number, and expanding the pool of nonresident students mathematically means that fewer citizen, high school graduates will be accepted.

California State Auditor Elaine Howle’s 2014 report, which The Sacramento Bee described as “broad and blistering,” found that academic standards were lowered for thousands of higher-paying, nonresident admissions. In an interview, Howle said, “It’s a matter of priorities. It’s a matter of the university making a commitment to California high schoolers who want to be admitted.” After Howle’s office released her report, University of California President Janet Napolitano slammed it as “neither helpful nor accurate.” But in the end, Howle had more credibility than Napolitano.

On May 18, the UC Board of Regents announced that it would cap the nonresident enrollment of five campuses at 18 percent; four other campuses that currently exceed 18 percent would be capping at their 2017-2018 level.

In her crow-eating statement after the regents’ decision, Napolitano said: “The policy strikes, in my view, the appropriate balance between resident and nonresident enrollment particularly given our commitment to enroll every eligible California resident and that nonresidents are added in addition to and not in place of California residents.”

While the cap is a step in the right direction and an acknowledgement that nonresident enrollment had reached excessive proportions, 18 percent is still too high. Approximately, one in every five incoming UC students will be a non-Californian.

A UC diploma is an achievement that should yield lifetime rewards. California’s kids deserve the first shot at the prestigious degree.

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