You pay your State of California taxes.
You raise your kids to excel.
You work your tail off so they can have a better future.
Your son/daughter does extremely well in school and on the SAT.
They apply for the University of California system.
They exceed the entrance standards.
But they’re not accepted.
Why? Perhaps they were bumped by even brighter California high school graduates or maybe a whiz kid from Michigan. Maybe it was a California student that didn’t score as high on the SAT but because they came from an extremely disadvantaged background, they got kicked up the acceptance ladder. You may not like it but you accept it.
But what if you find out your child got turned away from the UC system because they were bumped by foreign students from rich families that could afford to pay three times the going tuition for students hailing from California.
You wouldn’t be happy, would you?
Then what if you found out students from China and India that bump Californians from a university system that was started by state taxpayers and is primarily supported by state taxpayers almost all end up returning to their homelands. They use the education they gained in California to strengthen industries in China and India that in turn hammer similar employment sectors in the Golden State costing middle class and working class taxpayers that support the UC system their jobs.
Of course, UC brass will tell you that it is a matter of keeping the doors open since out-of-state students and international students pay significantly more in tuition as the state “failed” to adequately fund the UC system during the Great Recession and the subsequent recovery that is underway. What they won’t tell you is that the UC system took miniscule pay and staffing cuts compared to the rest of the public sector and certainly compared to the private sector during the depth of the financial crisis. They even gave many of their campus top brass double digit pay raises in the darkest days of the Great Recession.
You will be told every American university is being “forced” to accept more foreign students due to pure economics. But what they fail to tell you is that they are fudging the facts.
A study by the Wall Street Journal showed that while the 50 largest universities outside of California had an increase in foreign students they didn’t experience a decline in the acceptance rate for in-state students. When it comes to slamming the door to higher education to qualified students within their home state no university does it better than the UC system.
In 2010, the UC system accepted 84 percent of all applicants from California. By 2014 that had dropped to 62 percent.
Undergraduate students from California accounted for 95 percent of the UC enrollment in 2007. By last school year it had dropped to 87 percent based on research by the San Francisco Chronicle. The number of students from the other 49 states enrolled in the UC system increased during that time period by just under 2 percent. Meanwhile foreign enrollment skyrocketed from 1.8 percent to 8.5 percent.
Almost 1 out of every 10 freshmen at a UC campus are not even United States residents. A third hail from China followed by India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Nationally, 4.8 percent of all students at universities are classified as international students.
The downward slide of California students being accepted into a university system founded to educate Californians shows signs of accelerating.
At the UC San Diego campus, the acceptance rate for last year’s applicants from California was just 30 percent. That’s down from a somewhat better 46 percent in 2006. Now for the zinger: The number of applicants for foreign students at UCSD went from 37 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2014 but the actual number of international students went from 437 in 2006 to 3,381 last year for a 9-fold increase.
And students from China went from 70 in 2006 to 2,219 last year.
Perhaps UC San Diego should be renamed UC Shanghai-Dongguan, UC Berkeley rechristened UC Beijing and UCLA recast as the University of China at Los Angeles.
In response to public outcry, President Obama’s ex-Homeland Security chief turned University of China system president Janet Napolitano last year put in place a policy that no more than 20 percent of the students at UCLA and Berkeley could be non-Californians. That’s still five times higher than the average foreign enrollment for the 50 largest American universities outside of the Golden State.
To throw California taxpayers a bone, Napolitano is now proposing the UC regents embrace her plan to boost the enrollment of in-state students by 5,000 in the fall of 2016.
Of course there is a catch. She wants the legislature to provide more funding to cover the cost of those students.
Here’s a novel idea: Scale back foreign enrollment to 5 percent, adjust expenses accordingly such as not paying football coaches 16 times what a professor earns and backfill the loss in students with overqualified California students that the UC system has been rejecting to make room for the sons and daughters of rich foreigners.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.