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California budget proposal aims to increase seats for local students

Top institutions in California will be required to admit more students from the state and reduce their intake from out of state and international students, if a proposed state budget bill is passed.

The budget proposes to fund more places for Californian students at top institutions. Photo: Unsplash

The June 28 Budget Package will provide $180m to increase resident enrolment

Lawmakers want more seats to be available at UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego for Californians, and say that schools focusing on out-of-state students have been at the expense of in-state students.

Institutions insist that international and non-state students are only admitted alongside, and never take the place of, qualified local students.

The three UC schools will be required to reduce non-state students to 18% of undergraduates from more than 22%, over five years from fall 2022.

The proposals will provide the institutions with a $31 million ongoing General Fund in 2022-23, continuing to $61m in 2023-24 and $92m in 2024-25 to reduce nonresident enrolment.

Lawmakers suggest some 4,500 additional California students would gain places under the plans.

Additionally, the bill would approve a revision to support a 0.5% in enrolment growth at Community Colleges, and the California State University would gain $81m to increase its undergraduate enrolment by 9,434 new students in 2022-23.

“We’ve been waiting for decades to have student aid that helps people”

“We’ve been waiting for decades to have student aid that helps people,” said Senator John Laird, D-Santa Cruz.

“We’ve been waiting to restore our schools financially. I don’t think anybody has had a budget like this in front of them for a generation, if not longer. We should be proud of this budget.”

In total, the June 28 Budget Package will provide $180m to increase resident enrolment by more than 15,000 students at UC and CSU, the document noted.

The package additionally provides new funding to all three public higher education segments to support food pantries, Cal Fresh sign up, and housing insecurity, and adds ongoing funding and $150 million of one-time funding to increase student mental health services.

“Over the next three years, $2 billion is provided to expand student housing and other facilities for higher education students,” the document read.

“Nonresident students are enrolled only in addition to, and never in place of, qualified California students,” said UC San Diego chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

“As state funding declined, the enrolment of nonresident students helped offset tuition costs for California students and provided revenue that enabled us to improve educational programs for all students.”

Out-of-state and international students also “contribute significantly to the diversity of the student experience”, added UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ.

A recent National Foundation for American Policy study found that increases in international student enrolments generally do not lead to decreases in the number of US students, NAFSA’s senior director, Public Policy & Legislative Strategy, Rachel Banks, highlighted.

Each additional 10 bachelor’s degrees awarded to international students leads to an additional 15 bachelor’s degrees in STEM majors awarded to US students, she added.

“International students and scholars on US campuses benefit their institutions, their classmates, the local community and economy”

“The presence of international students and scholars on US campuses benefit their institutions, their classmates, the local community and economy,” she said.

“International students and scholars bring academic value, talent and enhance the cultural diversity of their campuses and communities.”

They also drive student volume necessary to offer certain types of STEM courses and without that demand, “certain STEM courses or majors would not be available to US students”.

In the the 2018-19 academic year, the 160,592 international students in California contributed $6.6bn to the economy and supported 69,154 jobs, while in 2017-18 161,693 students added $6.8bn and supported 74,814 jobs.

“International scholars bring global expertise and the international dimensions and perspectives of their disciplines, helping to prepare the next generation of US students and scholars, particularly in STEM fields, for a global workforce,” Banks said.

Key expenditures will likely be approved later this summer, according to CalMatters.

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