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University of California behind schedule in growing enrollment of in-state students

University of California behind schedule in growing enrollment of in-state students


Michael Burke
January 13, 2023
Facing pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers to add thousands of California resident undergraduates over the next several years, the University of California is off to a slow start in making that happen.
In fact, UC estimates that enrollment of in-state students will be down slightly in the current 2022-23 academic year compared with last year. By UC’s own admission, that makes it unlikely that it will meet the expectation set last year by Newsom and lawmakers to add more than 7,600 of those students between 2022 and 2024.
Officials pointed to a variety of reasons for UC not enrolling its targeted number of in-state students, including drops in community college enrollment resulting in fewer transfer students; a student housing shortage that limits capacity at many campuses; and different enrollment strategies across the campuses, some of which deliberately limited their enrollment this past fall.
Kevin McCarty, chair of the Assembly’s subcommittee on education finance, said he finds it puzzling that UC is falling short of those targets, particularly given that there are far more qualified UC applicants than ultimately get admitted. 
“UC has a massive demand and supply imbalance. In other words, we turn away qualified Californians in record numbers. And so how is it that we’re not able to increase enrollment? That’s kind of perplexing,” McCarty said.
UC leaders plan to discuss the enrollment dilemma at next week’s board of regents meeting, when regents will receive a report that describes UC’s progress toward goals set by Newsom as part of a multiyear agreement with the system. The five-year compact, which Newsom unveiled a year ago, promises annual budget increases of 5% for UC and the 23-campus California State University in exchange for the two systems working toward a number of goals, chief among them expanding enrollment of in-state students.
UC says that even though the system isn’t yet making progress this year toward the goal, it will make up for it in future years. By the time the agreement with Newsom expires in 2027, UC maintains that it will have added about 14,000 more California undergraduates.
Newsom this week signaled that he trusts UC will follow through. In his budget proposal Monday, he announced plans to fully fund the second year of the compact, which asks for UC and CSU to increase enrollment of California resident students by 1% annually. He did that despite projecting that the state faces a $22 billion deficit.
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