UC Berkeley to have more California students with new state budget

UC Berkeley and two of its popular sister campuses at the University of California would admit more residents in the state, and the overall UC system would add an additional 6,230 freshmen for 2022 in a budget bill to the state. State lawmakers are expected to vote on Monday night.

Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego are reportedly offering places to Californians at the expense of foreign and international students, in a move that Congressman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has called the best budget for higher education in decades.

“It’s a huge investment for future generations where we’ve really focused on inequality and access,” he said on Sunday. “We wanted to make sure that more California kids could have access to UC and CSU (California State University).”

The higher education component of the $ 262.6 billion state budget would dramatically increase Cal grants and middle class scholarships for students and also launch a five-year plan to reduce non-resident enrollment at Berkeley, San Diego and UCLA at 18%.

The bill provides sufficient funding to make up for lost tuition fees for non-residents – $ 1.3 billion a year from out-of-state tuition fees, officials say.

In recent years, as higher education budgets in California have been squeezed, state universities have compensated by admitting a higher percentage of international students, who tend to pay more for their studies than universities. Californian residents. But this trend has been controversial, with some heads of state arguing that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be spent on subsidizing the education of students who don’t live here.

The funding injection follows a record number of applications for fall 2021. The UC system announced in January that it had received nearly 250,000 undergraduate applications for around 46,000 places.

The budget allocated $ 81 million to increase undergraduate enrollment at CSU’s 23 campuses of 9,434 students, while UC would receive $ 68 million from the state to increase enrollment for California residents .

“This is a unique step forward in a generation in student aid,” said Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education.

Laird recalled Sunday that he served as Senate Budget Speaker from 2004 to 2008 when lawmakers “were just sorting out higher education.”

Some lawmakers wanted to reduce non-residential undergraduate enrollment in Berkeley, San Diego and UCLA to 10% from the current figures of 22.1% to 23.5%.

They agreed to an 18% cut over five years which Laird described as “an elegant compromise.”

The move would increase the number of California students by 4,500 students over five years.

The global package will impact 15,000 California families each year, said Ting, president of the Assembly budget.

“That’s 15,000 children who can go to UC and CSU,” he said. “This means that our best and brightest are going to stay in California rather than potentially pursuing educational opportunities elsewhere.”

A UC Berkeley spokesperson referred questions about the state budget to officials across the system.

While UC officials have said they support increasing enrollment for California students, they have opposed limiting non-residents to 10%.

“We understand and support the legislature’s goal of providing more opportunities for Californians at UC, although we believe that attempting to achieve this by reducing non-resident students will potentially lead to unintended results,” declared the UC system in an unassigned statement.

Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who heads the Assembly’s education finance subcommittee, said the unintended consequences UC officials have referred to involve the diversity of the student body.

“For 145 years, UC has focused on 95% California students,” McCarty said. “Suddenly they only see the light of diversity when money comes with it.”

Lawmakers have taken advantage of a booming economy in the post-COVID-19 pandemic climate to focus on long-simmering issues like college admission for residents.

McCarty said residents have complained over the past decade about how their children have been kicked out of UC and Cal State systems while graduating.

“It’s an insult on top of the injury that the fear area goes to a non-Californian,” he said.

One of the features of the bill includes $ 154 million for Cal Grant, the primary source of state-funded financial assistance. The extra money will go to 133,000 community college students this fall who were previously ineligible due to restrictions involving age limits and years since graduating from high school.

In addition, the legislation provides $ 515 million to expand the state’s middle class scholarship to more middle and lower income students.

The money would be available for Cal Grant recipients to help cover costs such as accommodation and food. Laird and Ting said the idea is to move towards a debt-free college experience by reducing living costs, especially accommodation.

Laird said the bill also restores core college funding to pre-pandemic levels with a 5% cost of living increase.

Lawmakers further agreed to create a new $ 2 billion fund to expand UC and Cal State facilities as more students are admitted. The fund would also help address the shortage of student housing for four-year schools and community colleges.

“This is the largest access and affordability budget in California history,” McCarty said. “It’s almost too good. This is the best we will ever do.

About Mark A. Tomlin

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