The University of California (UC) system has decreased the overall acceptance rate for California residents, rejecting qualified residents in favor of admitting international and out-of-state students. Due to harsh budget cuts and a lack of overall funding, both international and out-of-state students continue to bring in a lot more money to UC schools than current state residents, but will cost California citizens more than what can be afforded. According to University of California Berkeley’s Alumni website, the question is asked how the University was able to reach this point: “The answer can be traced to the brutal state budget cuts of recent years, followed by the UC system’s decision to award more coveted admission slots to foreign and out-of-state students who pay full fare.” In other words, priority is given to those who can pay the utmost cost. The system is therefore in favor of international students who bring in more money over California residents.
When the UC system rejects California residents, who already pay a considerable application fee, in favor of international students, they not only limit the educational potential of students in California, but put other financial burdens on citizens. For example, most international students at UC Berkeley come from China, a country which has almost bypassed the United States in its entire economy. While applicant rejects face stress over finding a school to attend, these international and out-of-state students are handed valued admission slots and scholarships. The UC system seems to favor foreign economies over trying to improve California’s already weakened economic state.
At UC Berkeley, the amount of internationals has tripled throughout recent years, and the number of foreign students in the international population who are enrolled is vastly more visible than at other American universities. Despite accepting a record amount of incoming freshmen for fall 2014, acceptance rates at UC Berkeley and UCLA attained new lows. With a huge increase in the number of California residents applying, international and out-of-state applicants still took priority.
As of last Friday, UC admission data stated that 86,865 freshmen were accepted to the University this year, which was a 4.8 percent increase from the previous year. However, acceptance rates at UC Berkeley and UCLA dropped below 20 percent in favor of out-of-state residents and international students. At UCLA, the admission rate fell from 20.1 percent in 2013 to 18.2 percent this year. While the incoming amount of applications has recently skyrocketed, admission rates to the Iniversity remained the same for California residents.
At UC Berkeley, this drop in acceptance was even more apparent, with an acceptance rate of 20.8 percent last year opposed to 17.3 percent in this year’s application process. This procedure rejects California residents, while using a wait list to fill any holes in available spots. However, despite 74,000 applicants, the UC rejects qualified residents living in the state in favor of international students who are equally qualified, meeting similar standards. These actions by university administrators mirror trends at other elite universities across the United States, with Stanford and Harvard University’s admittance rate shrinking to 5.1 and 5.9 percent, respectively.
As the number of international students studying in California has skyrocketed, UC Berkeley’s international population rose to over 2,700 students on campus. In 2008, the percentage of international students on campus was a mere 1 percent. Now it is 6 percent. While acceptance rates have increased for non-residents, these students do not fare any better than California residents at the University. In fact, UC system statistics state California residents have performed just as well or higher in academics than do international students. Additionally, many of the incoming international students initially suffer from higher amounts of both academic and social-related pain and stress.
The UC system rejects qualified California residents in favor of international and out-of-state students, since these students provide the University with the most money, and this has been needed during California’s recent economic decline. However, many citizens feel that this is completely unfair to deserving, hard-working and intelligent prospective students living in California who are denied admission simply to make room for “cash cows” living out-of-state and internationally.
Opinion By Scott Gaudinier