Thursday, July 9, 2015

A University Divided: Separate and Unequal

Although we do not have information on how many students have accepted UC offers of admissions for 2015-16, we do know that there has been another large increase (2,453) in non-resident student acceptances and a decrease in students from California (down 1,039).  We also know that extra tuition for non-resident students will go up 5% to $24,700 per student, while in-state tuition will remain at $12,192.  This increased incentive to enroll non-resident students has resulted in the following admissions figures: 45 percent of offers at UC Berkeley went to out-of-state and internationalstudents; the figure was 42 percent at UCLA, 39 percent at UC San Diego and 35percent at UC Davis.” In other words, these campuses stand to take in a huge amount of extra funds.  For instance, if a campus enrolls 1,000 non-resident students for four years, the increased funding is $100 million.  It is no wonder that UC has rejected the legislature’s offer of $25 million if the entire UC system increases enrollments for Californian students by 5,000.  Instead of getting an extra $5,000 per resident student, the UC can get an extra $24,700 per non-resident student. 

Of course this whole logic means that money has become the main value, and many students from California will end up paying more to go to public schools in other states or to expensive private universities.  Moreover, the rush for non-resident student revenue will enhance the inequity of the system so that the campuses with the highest number of underrepresented students (UCR, Merced, UCSB, UCSC) will continue to receive the lowest level of revenue, and the campuses with the highest number of wealthy students will receive the most funding.  As I have previously reported, last year’s admissions enhanced the inequity among the campuses:

This chart tells us that campuses that received higher funding in the past (see the last column) built up their reputations and now can cash in on non-resident student revenue (NRT) (the second column). Moreover, the extra NRT funds on one campus do not help the students on other campuses, and the amount of financial aid for non-resident students ($32 million last year) is almost as much as the total amount of rebenching ($37 million last year). 

As the state auditor pointed out in 2011, the campuses receiving the lowest level of per student funding were also the campuses with the highest number of underrepresented minority students.  The chart below lists the percentage of undergraduate underrepresented minority students and Pell grant students for each campus in 2014-15:

                           Underrepresented           Pell

Thus, while 16% of undergrads at Berkeley were underrepresented minority students this year, Riverside had 41%, and while Berkeley took in over $40 million in extra non-resident student tuition revenue, Riverside only brought in $7.5 million.  Furthermore, 31% of undergrads at UCLA are Pell grant eligible, but 51% at UCSC fall into this low-income category, and yet UCLA brought in an additional $41 million in non-resident student tuition, while UCSC brought in $19 million.  These statistics clearly show that UC has a separate and unequal funding model based on race and class, and this situation only promises to get worse next year. 

When the state auditor pointed out the racial component of the campus funding imbalance in 2011, President Yudof wrote that, “There is absolutely no basis – statistically, historically, or ethically – for drawing such a connection. Furthermore, the BSA makes no investigation into or observation of disproportionate or inequitable treatment or outcomes for students at different campuses” (p. 81).  However, after making this statement, the UC then later admitted that the correlation between funding and race may have been the unintended result of an ad hoc funding process, and yet, nothing has changed and things are only getting worse.  The UC can no longer plead ignorance and must find a way to share NRT revenue among the campuses.