The University of California (UC) school system is known for enrolling a large proportion of Asian Americans. However, in the wake of state budget cuts to education, the number of Asian Americans attending UC schools is actually on the decline.
Increasing numbers of out-of-state and international students are replacing Asian Americans on California campuses due to their ability to pay nearly twice as much as in-state residents. At UC San Diego, the number of freshmen from China increased from 16 in 2009 to 200 in 2011, while the number of Asian American in-state residents fell 29 percent from 1,723 to 1,230. At UC Berkeley, non-resident students brought in $80 million in 2010 compared to $54 million in 2009.
This shift is understandably raising controversy and animosity in the Asian American community, since the purpose of state schools should be to educate in-state citizens, not international students. More and more highly qualified students with great SAT scores and high grades are being denied college spots.
However, it’s very important to consider the facts before becoming outraged or jumping to conclusions such as reverse-discrimination to explain why Asian American enrollment is falling. The truth of the matter is that the UC system is increasing nonresident enrollment from 6.6 to 10 percent, which means that spaces for all in-state students are declining. Additionally, the numbers often just don’t add up – according to 8asians, Asian American enrollment dropped 22 percent at UC Berkeley from 2009 to 2010, Chinese students increased from 55 to 96, and white enrollment dropped by 29 percent.
So, what can students do? For one thing, they can certainly stay on top of the news and stay informed about California’s budget matters. In situations like these where multiple factors are at play, sometimes the best thing we can do is educate ourselves on the issue first, then start a dialogue on how we should approach it.