What's happening with UC's?
Results came out this week for most of UC's (Universities of California). For many students (and parents) they were disappointing.
None of my children's friends nor the children of my friends got into any UC. Most have received negative responses, and few are on waiting lists. We are entitled to wonder: What is happening? Speculations were going fiercely this week-end:
UC's accepted more out of state students to cover expenses
California is victim of it's own success: fall's admissions overload. "Much more students than anticipated accepted offers of admission" in 2017.
"Over a mere eight years, the number of eligible students at UC and CSU grew by more than 30 percent at UC and 50 percent at CSU, the RTI researchers estimated." In our districts it's pretty common to have a 4.4/4.5 GPA (that shows that our schools do a pretty good job of preparing our kids for college).
For now rates of acceptance for fall 2019 are not out yet. It is too early to speculate about what is currently happening. But looking back to previous years, it isn't a new phenomenon.
What happened the previous years?
"UC schools harm local students by admitting so many from out of state, audit finds."
In that article "University of California President Janet Napolitano denounced the audit's conclusions as "disappointingly pre-baked" and "unfair and unwarranted." She said auditors ignored the fact that higher-paying out-of-state students contributed $728 million to UC coffers and allowed the 10-campus system to accept more Californians in the face of massive budget cuts imposed since the 2008 recession."
UC's admitted fewer in-state students than previous years.
"The University of California offered freshmen admission for the upcoming fall to an increasing number of students from other states and nations despite political controversy and its own efforts to cap the ranks of non-residents starting next year.... Those students pay much higher tuition than in-staters and those revenues are coveted by the campuses." said Larry Gordon in July 2017.
UC admits record number of transfer students and several "UC's admitted fewer in-state students than the previous year".
"The biggest beneficiary of UC’s closely watched admissions balancing act were students transferring from community colleges — a major push as the state struggles to make its vaunted university system more accessible and comply with a demand from Gov. Brown that the system boost transfer enrollment."
In the diagrams below we see that out-of-state admission rate multiplied by 3 over the last 10 years.
And at the same time, a friend's of mine, a college counselor in the bay area district, who I asked what was happening, answered me: "In my school, results are rather good. It is relative to the school, so high GPA and high SAT scores do not help if the student is not at the top of his class. Extra-curricular activities are also very important for most UC's". Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a little fish in a big pond?
It might not get better in the next years because solutions are not that simple. It's not just about building new campuses (that can take many years) or reducing the number of out-of-state students (colleges need that money) or raising eligibility standards (they are already really high and in some ways insane for some teenagers). It might be to consider colleges that offer good scholarships in other states, state universities that take advantage of this "leveling up" or to study abroad where universities are way cheaper.
When building your college list, I strongly recommend not to "put all one's eggs in one basket".