- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The University of California will examine whether it admits too many out-of-state and international students as it develops a budget for the next academic year that might include the system’s first tuition increases in four years, university President Janet Napolitano said Tuesday.

Marking her one-year anniversary as leader of the 10-campus public college system, the former Homeland Security secretary said she shares the concerns of Californians who watched the percentage of nonresidents accepted rise sharply during the recession.

The university needs to look at whether it has struck the right balance between those higher-paying students and in-state students whose educations are partially funded by the state, she said.

“There are enough people that are concerned about it and have expressed that concern to me - and I’ve seen it myself by looking at the numbers - that it deserves a serious look, and we are giving it that,” Napolitano said during an interview with The Associated Press.

Thirty percent of the 86,865 freshmen applicants offered admission to a University of California campus this fall came from other U.S. states or abroad. Five years earlier, nonresidents made up a little less than 12 percent of the prospective students offered a spot.

Nonresidents pay an average of $36,178 in tuition and fees compared with $13,300 for in-state tuition.

UC officials repeatedly have sought to reassure anxious parents that nonresidents are not displacing their sons and daughters, but helping to subsidize the costs of California students amid cuts in state funding while enhancing campus diversity. Napolitano did the same in addressing the topic Tuesday while stressing that the solution lies in Sacramento.

“There hasn’t been an appropriation for enrollment growth at the University of California for several years. That says something,” she said. “So when parents say to me, legitimately, ‘Why are out-of-state students being admitted and my kid’s not,’ one of the reasons is that we haven’t been investing in enrollment growth, and the myth that you can cut your way to excellence and maintain enrollment is a myth.”

Napolitano said she was disappointed Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have provided the university with another $50 million this year. She said she expects to engage Brown and state lawmakers in an assessment of the university’s needs and role in the state economy after the November election.

At the same time, she expects to present to UC’s governing board of regents in November a plan for making tuition increases a more consistent and predictable part of the system’s budget while ensuring financial aid, tuition breaks and scholarships remain available for those with demonstrated need.

Tuition rates at UC campuses have been frozen since fall 2011, and half of all students are on full financial aid and pay nothing, Napolitano said.

“Is there a possibility of a grand bargain with the state to take the pressure off of tuition dollars in the future?” she said. “I do not know, and I would not predict that, so I think the regents and I will have to look at everything as we look at the 2015-16 budget.”


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