Believe it or Not: California Students Unwelcome at California State University

Published on September 12th, 2012

By Joe Guzzardi
August 15, 2012

California State University East Bay Campus, formerly CSU Hayward, has formulated a unique strategy to stave off the financial crisis that has engulfed virtually every United States college.

CSUEBC announced a plan that would make California residents ineligible to enroll. The school would accept into their Masters Degree programs only out of state or foreign-born students who pay higher non-resident tuition.

Over the last few years, universities have dug themselves a hole from which there’s apparently no escape. By raising tuition every year, colleges have gradually limited the numbers of students who can afford to matriculate. From 2008-2010, the average university tuition climbed 15 percent but at some colleges in Georgia, Arizona and California, the increases reached 40 percent.

As a result, even upper middle class families are re-evaluating their priorities. They’re more selective. Many wonder if an investment in a diploma is worth the price especially with job market weakness projected to last for many years. At Penn State University where tuition has soared 21 percent in the last five years, applications have fallen by 25 percent. Families are either unwilling or unable to absorb the ever-increasing college education costs.

Who can blame them? The Wall Street Journal analyzed recently released Federal Reserve data from 2007 to 2010 and discovered that households with annual incomes of $94,535 to $205,335 saw the biggest jump in the percentage with student-loan debt and a sharp jump in their average aggregate debt burden. Accordingly, some families opt for community colleges.

For years, universities have subtly and successfully solicited more and more foreign-born students to help offset their cash flow crisis. In its annual “Open Doors” report, the Institute of International Education found that the number of students from abroad increased 6 percent last year.

Now, however, for the spring 2013 semester CSUEBC has directed its graduate department heads to accept only out-of-state students or no one at all. This will translate into CSU graduate programs consisting of almost all international students; the CSU computer science graduate program is already 90 percent foreign-born.

This means that if you live in California and have a child who wants to attend CSUEBC graduate school, he is expressly banned—outrageous by any standards since your tax dollars have helped subsidize the university. And the bigger question is whether the current CSU edict may become a nationwide template for other desperate administrators.

Some CSUEBC professors balk at the discriminatory nature of their employer’s new directive. In interviews she gave to Inside Higher Ed, an online source for education related news and opinion, biology professor Maria Neito said that she and many of her colleagues are “appalled” and resistant. Ms.Neito couldn’t imagine telling a California resident that he doesn’t qualify based on his instate status and then turn around to accept an out-of-state applicant. Added Ms. Neito: “We are a state institution. Our mission should be to support the taxpayers by supporting the needs of people who live in this state. We are expected to educate our populace.”

When state universities disassociate from citizens who have historically sustained and funded them, they establish a dangerous trend. If CSUEBC weathers the political storm and succeeds in denying California kids admission, expect similar policies to take effect at the state’s universities.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]

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