The University of California is facing criticism for allegedly admitting thousands of out-of-state students with low grades to raise more money.
A recently released state audit revealed that the public university accepted nearly 16,000 nonrehsidents with grade-point averages and scores that are lower than those of admitted Californian students, reported SF Gate.
With the non-Californian students paying about three times the basic tuition and fees of in-state students ($38,108 versus $13,400), the apparent reason for the change of grade threshold seemed monetary.
According to the 116-page report, the California Master Plan for Higher Education recommends that the UC should ideally admit only nonresidents who are as qualified as the “upper half of residents who are eligible for admission.” However, the university lowered that threshold in 2011 to enable nonresidents who “compare favorably” with residents to be admitted.
State Auditor Elaine Howle’s report blasted the university for the practice that seemed to favor nonresidents, saying the school undermines state residents’ access to UC. She urged the university to restore its prior admissions criteria and suggested that the number of nonresident enrollees be limited via a legislation.
“The Master Plan is the commitment that California made to high school students and families that if they work hard, they’ll have the opportunity to an education at UC,” Howle said. “The problem is that UC campuses have an incentive to bring in nonresidents — and that’s hurting California high school graduates who want to go to UC.”
While there are currently two lawmakers planning to introduce a bill to require higher admission standards for nonresident students and generally limit their number, UC, being autonomous, may not be compelled to comply.
In the same report, UC President Janet Napolitano denied the claim that the university was undermining resident applicants and stated that UC gets more California students than it receives state funding.
The audit, however, indicates another factor causing the institution’s financial woes. It questions UC’s generosity with raises and revealed that its executives allegedly earn more than other executives in the state with Napolitano ($570,000) earning even more than Gov. Jerry Brown ($169,559).
In her own report, Napolitano gave her rebuttal: “Even in the leanest of budget years [… ] UC has continued to offer admission to every California applicant who meets our criteria. To suggest […] that UC has ‘disadvantaged’ California students is entirely unfounded.”