UC regents to talk 20 percent nonresident enrollment cap

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A proposal to cap nonresident undergraduate enrollment at 20 percent systemwide will be discussed at the UC Board of Regents meeting next week.

The proposed policy, if approved, would permit campuses that currently enroll lower numbers of nonresident undergraduates to increase their proportions accordingly, according to a meeting agenda item made public Monday. At UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego — the three UC campuses where a reduction in nonresident enrollment would be required to meet the 20 percent proportion — the enrollment of nonresident undergraduates will be capped at their current proportions, according to UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez.

“We would not want those numbers to change,” Vazquez said. “It would mean a loss for the campuses.”

The new enrollment proposal comes approximately a year after the California state auditor released a report criticizing the university’s policy on nonresident enrollment. The report, which was requested by California Assemblymember Mike Gipson, D-Carson, alleged that existing UC policy made it difficult for in-state residents to gain admission and that the university should have found other cost-cutting methods prior to increasing nonresident enrollment. The report concluded by recommending a legislatively enforced cap on UC enrollment.

The proposed policy change has been under talks for several months, according to Vazquez. If approved, it will become effective in fall 2017. Financial aid funding obtained from the base tuition amount paid by nonresident undergraduates would continue to be used to lower attendance costs for California resident undergraduates with limited resources, the agenda item said.

“(The policy) balances the university’s commitment to California students with the benefits that nonresident students bring,” Vazquez said. “We are quite aware that nonresident students bring … different perspectives, different backgrounds and different geographies to the UC, and that’s very important for students who are preparing to work in a global society.”

ASUC President Will Morrow, an out-of-state campus student, criticized the proposal, calling it “counter to the values” of the university. Morrow said unless the ASUC Senate passes a resolution regarding the policy, he is limited in what he can do to respond to the new policy, but he added that he planned on bringing up his concerns with the UC regents.

“We are putting at risk a longstanding history at UC Berkeley — and across all the UCs — of accepting students of the highest caliber and considering other factors later,” Morrow said. “It is worrisome to me that there will be outstanding students, who will enhance the state of research, who will be kept out of coming to this school preemptively because of this enrollment effective quota.”

The regents will vote on the policy during the open session of their March 16 meeting at UCSF Mission Bay.

Harini Shyamsundar is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.