It’s surprisingly hard for residents to get into some state universities

by Grace

Many in-state colleges and universities are accepting fewer in-state applicants into their freshman classes. Why?

The Wall Street Journal has a short video that gives the example of a California high school valedictorian with top Advanced Placement scores and an overall impressive resume (quarterback for his football team).  This student was rejected at two public schools in his home state — UC Berkeley and UCLA.  But he was accepted to an Ivy League University.

In many public universities and colleges in-state enrollment is declining and out-of-state enrollment is increasing.

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Colleges want students who ‘can pay full price’

To make up for budget shortfalls, state schools are actively seeking out-of-state and international students who will pay higher tuition than in-state students.  In some states, limitations on out-of-state students place restrictions on an institution’s desire for higher revenues.  Last time I checked, out-of-state students allowed in the UC system are capped at 10%.

California presents a particular challenge for many students because “residents must adhere to very specific requirements to gain admission” to the University of California system”.  UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Irvine are considered the most selective public schools in that state, but it surprises me that the student featured in the video did not get in.

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2 Comments to “It’s surprisingly hard for residents to get into some state universities”

  1. This is a big problem in VA too. I have friends there who are very nervous about getting their kids into the state system. However, with this particular student – Berkeley is pretty much of the same stature as an Ivy, and given that admission to all these elite schools is a crapshoot, this isn’t all that surprising. If he really wanted to go to a public, why didn’t he apply to some of the other UCs?

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  2. I suspect this student was aiming at an elite school, and so he was probably not interested in attending other in-state options. But it’s not clear if he applied to other UCs.

    UVA and UNC Chapel Hill are two other state schools that are very selective.

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