Pro/Con: UCSD Admissions

Pro

The University of California, San Diego has continuously accepted excessive amounts of non-California residents.

Last year, the state of California declared that UCSD, along with two other University of California schools, was favoring out-of-state and foreign students due to the higher tuition they pay. As a result, California informed UCSD “to reduce nonresident undergraduate enrollment by roughly four percentage points, pushing it down to 18% of the enrollment makeup, over a five-year period that starts this fall,” according to an Aug. 15 San Diego Union-Tribune article.

California’s mandate on UCSD has finally caused the university to take the necessary measures to relieve instate applicants of the biased acceptance rates they’ve had 10 endure in prior years.

It is obvious that California residents should get priority when it comes to admissions to schools like UCSD because they are paying nation-high state taxes for the progression of the UC system.

But, as of now, this is not the case.

According to College Kickstart, in the Fall of 2021, the out-of-state acceptance rate for UCSD was 59.3%, and the in-state acceptance rate was significantly less at 28.5%.

So while some may believe that cutting out-of-state admissions will put out-of-state students at a disadvantage, in reality, it is only leveling the playing field.

Many other top public institutions in the country like the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill rightfully have higher in-state acceptance rates than out-of-state acceptance rates, according to admissions data provided by the schools. UCSD needs to understand that its number one priority as a state school is to provide education to Californians; residents should not be disadvantaged in the application
process.

Additionally, many students in California have dreamt of attending a UC college for their entire lives. If the UC system doesn’t do all it can to provide Californians with a UC education, many will subsequently leave California, attain their degrees elsewhere and never come back to California for work, according to the Chairman of the California Assembly Budget Committee, Phil Ting.

In the long run, California may lose talented individuals who could one day be valuable assets to the state’s economy.

Some are concerned that admitting fewer non-resident applicants will result in a loss of income for the UCs. However, although UC schools, including UCSD, rely heavily on out-of-state tuition to fund their programs, cutting those admissions will not hurt students or the institutions because the state has promised $184 million to cover this loss in revenue, according to a KPBS article.

While those negatively impacted by this switch may be frowning upon the change, it is clear that cutting out-of-state admissions is the right decision that took much longer than it should
have.

Even as more and more out-of-state applicants are seeking an education in the UC system, California must keep one eternal promise: prioritize its residents.

Con

One of the world’s most sought-after higher education systems, the University of California, received over 210,840 applicants for the fall
2022 school year.

To create more space for California residents, the state told the University of California, San Diego and two other UCs to reduce nonresident undergraduate enrollment from the current 22% of enrollment makeup down to 18% over a five-year period that starts in Fall 2022. This would especially impact UCSD, where international enrollment accounted for nearly 21% of its student body in 2020.

California should not instate an admissions cap for nonresident students as it fosters a lack of diversity, could potentially leave UC schools with insufficient funding in the future, and does not focus enough on campus expansion to accommodate all students.

UC schools like UCSD value diversity and inclusivity: in 2021, more than a third of UCSD’s incoming freshman class consisted of underrepresented groups, according to school data.

As a university that so heavily promotes its diverse student body, limiting the number of global students or students from other states attending UCSD will undermine the university’s goal of having a more diverse student body.

Some may argue that Californians should get priority when it comes to admissions because their state taxes support the UC school system, but UC schools, including UCSD, currently rely heavily on tuition from both out-of-state and in-state students. According to their Budget
for Current Operations: Context for the Budget Request, the state budget accommodation for the UCs has dropped dramatically since the 1980s from over 80% of the UCs’ core funds to 50% now.

California has stated that it will provide UCSD with millions of dollars to offset the loss in tuition caused by admitting fewer nonresident applicants over the five-year period. However, the history of the state’s funding shows that the money they provide to UC schools fluctuates greatly depending on the state of the economy. After every recession in the 2000s, state funding for the UC plummeted, driving the universities to increasingly rely on tuition, especially from out. of-state students. According to an Aug. 22 Reuters poll of economists, the U.S. has a 45% chance of falling into a recession within the next
year.

If a recession were to occur, California might reduce its funding for UC schools. With the out-of-state admissions cap in effect, these schools would no longer be able to rely on their out-of-state admissions tuition to make up for what they may or may not receive from the government. This loss of money would limit the schools’ abilities to support their students and programs in the future, especially as the number of applicants continues to rise.

The solution to the rising application rates at UCSD and other UC schools should not be to shift spots away from non-Californian students, but to increase state funding for these schools so that they can support all of their students, both in-state and out-of-state.

The seats at UCs like UCSD should not be taken from out-of-state or international students. Rather, the state needs to focus on funding new seats and maintaining old ones.

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