(Palo Alto, CA) – California is taking away an outstanding educational opportunity from some of its best and brightest high school graduates by limiting their access to the University of California system. US News and World Report ranks UC Berkeley and UCLA 20th and 23rd in the nation, yet 30% of their students come from out of state. That amounts to approximately 8,500 students each out of a total of 27,000 to 30,000 students, respectively. While out-of-state tuition costs $36,000 per year, or $23,000 more than in-state tuition, this additional revenue supports only about 6% of UC System’s expenses. [adsenseyu2]
Is this really what we want to do — give away about 17,000 spots a year in these two schools to out-of-state and out-of-nation students and deprive our own top students of this educational opportunity and future high-paying jobs?. My answer is no. The State of California has decreased its funding of the UC System in total from 18% of the State’s general fund in the late ‘70’s to 11 to 12% today. These decreases compare with increases in health and human services, corrections and rehabilitations, and K-12 education from 60% to 80% of the State’s General Fund expenditures. These statistics are available from a Study of Public Education in California by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
Meanwhile other universities that are ranked equal or higher than our two top public universities are charging about $10,000 more per year (average $48,000 per year) in student fees. So not only are we giving away these top spots to non-state students, we are doing it at a discount compared to similar top 20 universities in the nation (see US News and World Report Rankings).
As a candidate for the U. S. Senate, I believe a federal policy regarding issuance of student visas to out-of-nation students can positively address the inequity of educational opportunity for California’s equally qualified best and brightest students. I propose that out-of-nation students (who are primarily from China and India) be subjected to requirements similar to those currently imposed for issuance of “Green Cards” for foreign persons to obtain work visas. My recommendation is that each University would have to demonstrate that there are no equally qualified in-state students, based on test scores and GPA, who could fill the available slot for admission. Only then would student visas be issued. While the loss of higher tuition revenue would have an impact, I believe we can find ways to make up much of the lost revenue. First the California legislature should try to increase appropriations for the UC System and reverse the trend of the downward spiral. Second, based on my experience in both the private sector as a businessman and CPA and my public sector experience as President of the California PUC, it is not out of the question to find some savings to recover some of the 6% in the University System expenditures.
This is not an easy problem to solve but by addressing this issue we can increase the chances for California’s best and brightest to receive a high-quality education and gain access to future high-paying jobs right here at home.
For more information, visit www.gregconlon.com.