To prioritize in-state applicants, the University of California is complying with state legislative initiatives to limit nonresident admissions over the next five years.
UC Berkeley in particular plans to decrease the proportion of international and out-of-state students from more than 24% one year ago to 18% by the 2026-27 academic year, according to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. This plan follows the 2021 Budget Act, which outlined the state legislature’s intent to reduce the number of nonresident undergraduate students at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego.
“As a public institution in the state of California, we are committed to prioritizing California-resident enrollment and we have clear enrollment targets in place to do so,” Gilmore said in an email.
Yet these cutbacks also mean that the campus could lose important benefits that nonresident students bring. For instance, out-of-state tuition makes up an important portion of campus funding by adding nearly $30,000 to the total cost of attendance per nonresident student.
Ryan King, the associate director of media relations at the University of California Office of the President, or UCOP, noted that the legislature allocated $31 million to financially support the reduction of 902 nonresident students at the three campuses outlined above.
“As part of the final state budget, a five-year funding compact, originally proposed by the governor, will provide the reliable funding necessary for the University to expand access for more Californians to a world-class UC degree and support the hiring of additional faculty to educate an enlarged student body,” King said in an email.
Universitywide changes have already begun: In just 2022, out-of-state and international student admission was reduced by nearly 8,000 students across all UC campuses. With reductions in full stride, making up for lost tuition fees is not the only concern.
According to Anderson Lam, a campus junior transfer student from Malaysia, the university must also grapple with the loss of the culture, norms, language and more that international students bring to campus.
“It is REALLY important for international students to have more admission opportunities,” Lam said in an email. “International students stepped out of their comfort zone and spent a lot of money applying to the US to study at their dream school, but rejection by UC has caused a lot fewer opportunities for them to pursue their dream.”
Lam also noted that many students excelled in their extracurriculars, grades and test scores but were still rejected by UC Berkeley in recent application cycles due to caps on international student enrollment.
Despite nonresident student concern, Gilmore noted that the campus remains supportive of the plans to reduce nonresident admissions.
“As a national and global university, we also value and recognize the importance of a student population that includes individuals from different states, countries, backgrounds and perspectives,” Gilmore said in an email. “However, priority has been and will continue to be, enrollment of California-resident students.”