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UC targets out-of-state, foreign students

July 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Are California students being squeezed out of some University of California schools? A record number of out-of-state and out-of-country freshmen are set to arrive on California college campuses this fall. It's the result of UC's campaign to lure those willing to pay the higher tuition.University of California-Los Angeles insists that this decision will not affect qualified in-state students and their ability to get into the university.

But there will be an increase of foreign and out of state in the upcoming freshman class. Some see it as a positive way for the cash-strapped university to raise money. Others are worried it will squeeze out local students.

Laura Mead understands perfectly that an added benefit to her experience at UCLA is exposure to students from all over the world.

"You meet so many cool people," said Mead. "I just got out of class, and only two of us are from California, and everyone else is from somewhere else."

A new plan to increase foreign and out-of-state students at all of the University of California campuses might have some unintended consequences. Specifically, it might make it harder for California students to get into UC schools.

"I know my friends really experienced that this year, and I really experienced that last year when I was applying," said Mead. "So that's the only downside."

UCLA says it's not squeezing out California students, it's simply making this year's freshman class bigger. The university expects about 13,000 incoming freshmen incoming this fall, about 800 more than last year. Most of those are out-of-state or foreign students.

The reason for the increase is simple economics. Out-of-state or foreign students pay considerably more than in-state students -- to the tune of about $22,000 per year.

"You know, they're kind of hurting, and there's a lot of budget problems, so they've got to do what they've got to do," said UCLA student Neal Fultz.

UCLA released a statement Wednesday: "While some might be concerned about this shift, the overall benefits are great, especially in light of the fact that the state is not meeting its responsibility to subsidize students," wrote Claudia Luther, a UCLA spokesperson.

"You have to have over a 4.0 to get into UCLA, and if you're an in-state student or an out-of-state student, you shouldn't be denied because you're an out-of-state student or because you're an in-state student," said Anthony Stover, a UCLA student.

UCLA says that they are not going to squeeze out local students, that they will simply accommodate more out-of-state and foreign students, but that's only the case at UCLA. Other schools in the UC system might handle things differently.