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UC report strongly disputes assertions in state audit, demonstrates how it puts California students first

Credit: University of California

The University of California will expand California enrollment by 10,000 students over the next three years. UC’s Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom highlights how UC puts California students first in admissions and financial aid.

The University of California today (Tuesday) released “Straight Talk on Hot-Button Issues: UC Admissions, Finances, and Transparency,” a comprehensive, data-driven report that counters false and misleading assertions about UC contained in a recent report from the state auditor’s office.

“We welcome collaboration with our state’s elected leaders,” UC President Janet Napolitano wrote in a letter accompanying the University’s response to the audit. “Ours is a shared responsibility and California’s Legislature and Governor are valued partners and supporters. Accordingly, the University of California approached this audit process in a spirit of cooperation, transparency, and goodwill.

“...Unfortunately, the draft report that has been shared with us makes inferences and draws conclusions that are supported neither by the data nor by sound analysis.”

Download full report

As required by state law, UC was shown a draft copy of the audit report earlier this month. Rather than simply respond within the space allotted in the draft, however, UC took the unusual step of issuing its own report because it strongly believed the state audit consistently failed to consider key facts and data during the audit process.

The UC report directly addresses the assertions contained in the audit by providing data that show how University policies and practices overwhelmingly favor California resident students, how UC has always adhered to the Master Plan for Higher Education by offering spaces to all eligible California students who apply to UC, and how its stewardship of public funds is equitable and transparent.

This year the University will further expand its commitment to Californians by enrolling 5,000 more in-state undergraduates than in 2014-15, with plans to enroll an additional 5,000 California undergraduates in the following two years.

“Straight Talk on Hot-Button Issues: UC Admissions, Finances, and Transparency,” also speaks to the issue of the University’s enrollment of nonresident undergraduates by providing detail that disproves the audit’s assertion that enrolling nonresident students “disadvantages” California students.

This argument appears to be based on the mistaken belief that UC campuses have a set number of available spaces and if students from outside California take those spaces, fewer spaces remain for California residents. In fact, enrollment of California students depends on two factors: UC’s unbroken commitment to enroll California students consistent with the Master Plan and the availability of state dollars to fund additional resident enrollment growth.

Providing adequate state funding is the best way to increase the number of California students at UC. As evidence of this, when the State Budget Act of 2015 provided funds for enrollment growth, the University immediately implemented its plan to enroll the additional 5,000 students this fall. This did not require reducing the number of nonresident students enrolled.

Moreover, 43 percent of those additional 5,000 California undergraduates will enroll at the three campuses that currently educate the most nonresidents: Berkeley, UCLA and San Diego. This demonstrates that when state funding for enrollment is provided, the number of resident students will increase independently of the number of nonresident students.

This and other “hot button issues” related to the University are explored in depth in the UC report, which includes an executive summary and five chapters. The chapters, each with several sections roughly aligned with audit assertions and findings, include:

  • Educating California’s top students is central to UC’s mission
  • UC policies overwhelmingly favor California residents
  • UC allocates state funds through a transparent, fair, and effective process
  • UC is an effective, responsible steward of its financial resources
  • UC is increasing diversity and enhancing socioeconomic mobility.

To access “Straight Talk on Hot-Button Issues: UC Admissions, Finances, and Transparency,” click here

To read President Napolitano’s letter to the state auditor click here