Next week, UC Regents will discuss a proposal to cap nonresident enrollment at 20 percent across all 10 UC campuses.
The proposed enrollment cap, included in the meeting agenda released Monday, seeks to specify a limit on the number of nonresidents that UC campuses can continue to enroll. Only three campuses — UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UCLA — currently exceed the proposed cap.
This proposal comes just a year after the state auditor reported the UC had “undermined its commitment to resident students” by admitting more nonresidents. According to the auditor’s study, the university enrolled 82 percent more nonresidents from 2010-11 to 2014-15 while decreasing enrollment for resident students by about 1 percent in that same period.
UC Office of the President (UCOP) spokesperson Dianne Klein said, however, the proposed enrollment cap “has nothing to do with the auditor.”
According to Klein, UCOP proposed the enrollment cap in alignment with the Budget Act of 2016, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June. The law states that if the UC can specify a limit on the number of nonresident students it enrolls by May 1, then the state legislature will appropriate an additional $18.5 million to the UC. The increased funding could allow the UC to enroll 2,500 more students, Klein said.
“The reason that we proposed this plan is because the state legislature asked us to,” she said. “We had to come up with a plan to get more funding to enroll more California students.”
There are currently three UC campuses enrolling a proportion of nonresidents above the 20 percent cap: UC Berkeley (24.4 percent), UC San Diego (22.9 percent) and UCLA (22.8 percent). According to the proposal, these three campuses will maintain their proportions in the following academic year.
The proposal also states that the remaining seven campuses will be permitted to grow the proportion of nonresidents on their campuses, although reaching the cap is not a requirement.
Nonresidents make up 12.2 percent of the undergraduate population at UC Santa Barbara, but the campus does not plan to increase this proportion up to 20 percent.
According to Lisa Przekop, the director of admissions at UCSB, the proposed cap will not have much of an effect on how many nonresidents the campus will continue to enroll. She said UCSB is already nearing its enrollment cap of approximately 15 percent, as laid out by the long-range development plan.
“We’re not going to hit those numbers anytime soon,” she said, adding that UCSB’s long-range development plan limits enrollment to a total of 25,000 students.
Przekop said campus administration has not had any conversations about possibly enrolling a greater proportion of nonresidents. Doing so, she said, might mean that UCSB will have to admit nonresidents at a lower standard than for resident students.
“We’re not going to dip lower just to fill more nonresident seats,” she said. “Even though we might have room proportionally to take more students, we cannot just admit more nonresidents if they are not coming in at the same academic standard as what we are admitting California students.”
A version of this story appeared on p. 1 of the Thursday, March 9, print edition of the Daily Nexus.