As the University of California looks to shore up its shaky financial situation in the face of decreased funding from Sacramento, the system's effort to increase the proportion of out-of-state students has had an interesting effect--pushing out Asian American students at the expense of Chinese ones.
According to a Bloomberg report, in the years since administrators instructed U.C. San Diego to bring in more out-of-state students, the number of Chinese students enrolled at the Southern California university has seen a twelve-fold increase.
During the same period, the total number of Asian American students in the entire system decreased by just under 30 percent.
Tuition for in-state students is subsidized by the university (at least by a significantly higher degree than for other students) and can cost half to two-thirds as much as the rate for students hailing from outside the Golden State.
Last year, non-resident students brought some $80 million into U.C. Berkeley's coffers, up from $54 million the previous year.
The total number of out-of-state students has steadily increased in recent years. Students paying out-out-state tuition made up 14 percent total U.C. student body in 2011, 11 percent in 2010 and nine percent in 2009.
"The state is not a fully reliable partner in funding anymore," UCLA Provost Scott Waugh told Bloomberg. "If we're going to give California residents the education they want and deserve, we need non-Californians to help pay for it."
The most recent California state budget cut funding to the U.C. system by $650 million. These cuts also triggered a 9.6 percent tuition hike to be piled on top of another long-planned eight percent increase.
While this drop in the number of Asian Americans is significant, it hasn't been universal across the system. As a blogger at 8asians.com noted, "some of the numbers don't add up. Asian American enrollment at U.C. Berkeley from 2009 to 2010 dropped from 22 percent (a 314 student decline), Chinese student enrollment increased during the same time from 55 to 96. White enrollment dropped 29 percent."
This decrease in the number of Asian American students is soon to be followed by the implementation of another policy change that will likely further reduce their numbers from an all time of high of around 40 percent of total U.C. undergraduates only a few years ago.
The new policy, passed by the Board of Regents in 2009 and scheduled to go into effect later this year, ditches the requirement that all applicants take two SAT Subject Tests (formerly known at SAT II tests) and also reduce the number of students guaranteed admission to solely based on grades and test scores.
"I like to call it affirmative action for whites," said Ling-chi Wang, a retired U.C. Berkeley professor told USA Today."I think it's extremely unfair to Asian-Americans on the one hand and underrepresented minorities on the other."
An internal study found that this change alone could cut Asian American admissions by up to 20 percent.
The number of Asian Americans in the U.C. system increased rapidly during the 1990s after California voters passed Proposition 209, which barred all state universities from considering race in admissions. Conversely, the number of non-Asian minorities admitted plummeted. In 2009 alone, U.C. Berkeley saw a nearly 55 percent drop.
Nationwide, the number of students coming in from China has skyrocketed in recent years. In the 2010-11 academic year, one in five international students came from China.