UC System Unfair for Residents and Non-Residents

As a globally renowned and honored school system, competition to get into any UC campus is already at an all-time high. Unfortunately, California residents themselves don’t seem to be able to catch a break, especially after the findings of a recent audit, conducted by the state, concluded that the UC system is hurting Californian residents by accepting and admitting “too many” out-of-state applicants. It also concluded that standards were lowered for out-of-state students, which often resulted in residents getting rejected from their campus of choice.

The audit’s findings point to the unfairness towards residents who are deserving of spots within these schools but are denied admittance. As a system that was originally created for the benefit of the residents themselves, implementing stricter standards for California students and laxer ones for out-of-state students does not benefit anyone and only adds financial pressures of all students.

The UC’s justification for admitting so many out-of-state residents is that those students bring in revenue. In fact, Janet Napolitano, the  University of California President, has said that out-of-state students have brought in approximately $728 million since budget cuts that occurred in 2008.

Although UC’s seem to suggest that using nonresidential admits as a means of soliciting profits is part of a solution for their reduced budget, in reality, it’s not fair for any of  the students involved in the issue.

If we reduce students and education to numbers and dollar signs, maybe it would be as simple as admitting more out-of-state students to our campuses, but there’s a lot more at stake than just that.

One of the biggest reasons so many residents want to attend a UC is because they want to stay within California. For most students that live within the state, the most affordable means of receiving a higher education is through attending either a UC or a Cal State university. Both are public institutions with the backing of federal funds and are generally less expensive than most other universities. Staying within California lowers costs tremendously and guarantees students Cal Grants, which are additional federal grants given only to students that stay within the state to help pay for tuition. By making it harder for residents to get into UC’s, the system is adding additional financial pressure and stress on students who have the potential and ability to attend a UC but are denied due to unfair standards.

That’s not to say that UC’s should only accept residents from within the state. Diversity is a large proponent of UC campuses that make us unique. However, it seems that the system doesn’t completely work in the benefit of nonresidential students either. Even though standards may have been relaxed for those students, tuition definitely has not. According to the UC admissions page, out-of-state students pay an additional $24,708 in nonresident supplemental tuition, which is probably where the millions of profit come from. Although the supplemental tuition may be justified, targeting out-of-state students for profit still does not seem just for the students.

The UC system is upheld as one of the greatest institutions of higher education due to the rigor of research and study that we conduct on our campuses. Purposely lowering standards for any demographic of admitted students does not bode well for the future of our campuses’ reputations.


Ashley Duong is a first-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at alduong1@uci.edu.