uc-berkeley(Diya TV) — A recent audit of the University of California at Berkeley revealed that thousands of students from out of state with lower grades and test scores than state residents have been receiving higher admission rates as an effort to raise more cash for the school.

In the last three years, nearly 16,000 nonresident undergraduates — about 29 percent of those admitted — have been admitted to the prestigious public university with grade-point averages and test scores below the median of admitted Californians, according to a state audit released Tuesday. The 116-page audit criticizes university practices that it says undermine state residents’ access in favor of nonresident students who pay almost triple in tuition to that of a state resident — $38,108 per year versus $13,400.

According to the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education, the UC should only admit nonresidents who are as qualified as the “upper half of residents who are eligible for admission.” In 2011, the language of the plan was amended so that nonresidents only had to “compare favorably” the audit notes.

“The Master Plan is the commitment that California made to high school students and families that if they work hard, they’ll have the opportunity to an education at UC,” State Auditor Elaine Howle said. “The problem is that UC campuses have an incentive to bring in nonresidents — and that’s hurting California high school graduates who want to go to UC.”

Beginning in 2008, regents of the UC system began encouraging nonresident enrollment by allowing campuses to retain the extra tuition money brought in instead of sharing it with other schools. As a direct result, enrollment of nonresidents more than quadrupled in the last decade, while the enrollment of Californians only increased by 10 percent, despite the fact resident applications rose 52 percent.

Now, Howle is recommending the State Legislature put a cap on the number of nonresidents who can enroll. The recommendation has already been met with positive review by two lawmakers, Assemblywomen Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto (Stanislaus County), and Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon. Both say they plan to introduce a bill that will do just that, and will require higher admission standards for nonresidents at the same time.

UC Berkeley President Janet Napolitano
UC Berkeley President Janet Napolitano

Whether or not the UC system will be required to comply is up for debate, unlike the California State University system, UC is autonomous.

In a rebuttal to the audit, UC President Janet Napolitano writes that the university has enrolled more California students than it receives funding for from the state, and calls the claim that UC is undermining resident applicants “unfounded.” She added: “If anything has constrained the enrollment of California students, it has been reductions in state funding. Nonresidents pay the full cost of their education — and more.”

UC also responded with its own report, “Straight Talk on Hot-Button Issues: UC Admissions, Finances, and Transparency 2016,” that says “UC policies overwhelmingly favor California residents” and points out that the admission rate for in-state applicants is higher than that of nonresidents.