UC President Janet Napolitano announces cap on out-of-state enrollment at UCLA and UC Berkeley

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UC President Janet Napolitano announced a cap on next year’s out-of-state student enrollment at two UC campuses and a freeze on enrollment of California students in her testimony to the state assembly subcommittee on Tuesday.

Amid concern about rising levels of nonresident enrollment, Napolitano said she will cap out-of-state enrollment at UCLA and UC Berkeley — where out-of-state demand is highest out of all the UC campuses — at this year’s levels.

“Absent additional funding, UC is not in a financial position to absorb more California students beyond those we currently serve,” Napolitano said at the hearing, according to her prepared remarks. “As such, campuses have been instructed to keep their enrollment of California students flat.”

However, out-of-state enrollment will be allowed to increase at the other UC campuses; nonresidents pay about three times the tuition and fees in-state students pay, providing a source of funding for the university.

Assembly speaker Toni Atkins said in a statement that she is frustrated by Napolitano’s “latest attempt to use students as bargaining chips.”

“Proposing a cap on out-of-state students at two UC campuses, while increasing out-of-state enrollment overall, does not solve the problem,” Atkins said in a press release. “UC’s job is to educate California students, not waitlist them.”

Napolitano reiterated the financial challenges UC has faced recently, pointing again to its efforts to cut costs in the face of decreased funding, which led the Board of Regents to approve a tuition hike in November.

In his 2015-16 budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown has made his planned 4 percent to the university’s funding contingent on both flat tuition and a cap on nonresident enrollment.

A report released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office Friday also suggested limiting  enrollment at current levels. But Napolitano, in her statement, said she disagreed with the LAO’s projections that demand for admission will decrease, and said applications by California students to the university have grown for the 11th consecutive year. She specifically noted that applications from the state’s Latino population are increasing.

As a minority student from a low-income background, UC Berkeley junior and member of the Black Student Union Alana Banks said flattening enrollment as more Californian students apply will result in more rejections, thereby discouraging minorities from applying to to college. She said while she feels it is on the state to fund the university, it is not fair to put the financial pressure on students.

“It’s not our fault that the state isn’t funding us as well as they should be,” Banks said. “They’re never going to find the solution (to) the money crisis in the students.”

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn said the university is releasing information in small increments without proof of definite policy changes, which she described as a way for the UC to test the waters and gauge public reaction.

According to Evan Westrup, a spokesperson from Brown’s office, the governor continues to work with the university to reduce its cost structure, “while increasing access and quality.”


Suhauna Hussain covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @suhaunah.