The UC needs to stay true to its original purpose: educating Californians

Courtesy of UCR Extension Center
Courtesy of UCR Extension Center

When the University of California public school system was created, it was made in the idea of educating Californians as well as strengthening and supporting the progress of the Californian infrastructure. As time has progressed, the UC system, and higher education overall, has become more business-like and less about the importance of education. Tuition prices have increased exponentially, making it extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible for academically-qualified students to attend a UC school. Furthermore, as the UC system has become more of a corporation, it has continued to aggressively recruit out-of-state-students and international students at alarming rates. While the UC will describe the recruitment of these students as increasing campus diversity, one should know that these non-California students serve a much larger purpose — and it has nothing to do with diversity.

Students across the UC system have felt the impacts of the surge of international students being admitted to their campuses. One of them is Noah Hernandez, a biology major at UCSD, who wonders ”whether taking so many international students is fair to California students who are going to stay here and benefit the state.” Hernandez raises a good point, because many of these international students will earn their degrees at Californian universities, but will eventually return home with their degrees and support the infrastructure of their home country. The UC is doing the state of California a huge disservice by allowing so many international students into the university just to have them reap large economic rewards.

One major factor for enabling so many international students into the UC system is that “international students pay 3x the amount of in-state tuition.” In the 2014-2015 academic school year, there were nearly 1 million international students enrolled at accredited two-year and four-year U.S. schools, and almost one-third of those students were from China. It seems to me that the UC system, like many other American universities, has chosen a clear path for its future: They are more focused on the dollars, than the scholars. Essentially, I truly believe that the UC system has started to think of Californian students as expendable and unimportant. That’s a huge shame.

As more out-of-state students and international students flood our UC campuses, the domestic admissions rates have decreased sharply. In 2014, the UC system accepted 62 percent of in-state applicants, in comparison to 84 percent in 2010. That’s a 22 percent in-state admissions drop in four years, which is beyond unacceptable for the UC system, which was established to serve the needs and purposes of California students. Carol Bastian, a college counselor at Mountain View High School said simply “We’re shutting out California kids … undoubtedly this is because we have a very rich, new clientele, particularly Chinese.”

Because UC schools want to maximize on the economic potential of students, they are reaching out to students in other states and across oceans, but are forgetting about the students within our great state. For example, based on my observations of living in Los Angeles, it doesn’t sit right with me that UC recruiters won’t visit many inner-city high schools in low-income neighborhoods because they believe that those kids, even if smart enough, won’t be able to afford a UC education. That’s extremely problematic because those are the kids that the UC was made for, not the privileged international students who can pay excessive amounts of money for their college spots.

Most notably, UC schools are funded by our parents who have been paying California taxes for decades. Their students should have a higher chance of admission into a UC school in comparison to an out-of-state student or an international student. These tax dollars enable the UC schools to keep their doors open, yet state universities, like the UCs, have lost sight of their initial mission: educating Californians.

I want to believe that the UC system is not being capitalistic in their pursuit of non-Californian students, but that would just be a terrible lie. The current UC system is driven by money and greed and not by providing a quality and affordable education for Californian students.

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