You pay your taxes. But California's higher education system, reduced in some respects from the best in the world to yet another series of institutions that benefits the rich, has seen the cost of going to college triple in the span of a decade at some campuses.
One way that the University of California keeps the cash coming in when the tax revenues aren't is to give class seats that should go to Golden State natives to out-of-state students and foreigners, who pay nearly double to attend our schools.
New data released this week by UC shows that nearly 1 in 3 freshman at UCLA this fall could be foreigners and out-of-state students:
The system says 30.1 percent of students who have expressed "intent to register" at UCLA for fall are not from the Golden State. UC says 16.4 percent are from out of state and another 13.7 percent are foreign nationals.
Across all University of California campuses, 1 in 5 would-be freshman for fall are either from out of state or from another nation: 8.2 percent are non-Californians and 12 percent are foreigners, according to UC data.
Are we giving away our taxpayer-funded schools to out-of-state students because they have the ability to pay more? Foreigners pay nearly double the $12,000 or so a year it costs to attend UC schools as an undergrad.
The data on non-California students represent serious increases in "intent to register" figures compared to last fall.
However, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein emphasized that those "intent to register" figures never fully materialize on campus. "It's not a completely reliable indication of how many will enroll," she said.
These relatively rich kids often "place deposits at multiple schools" that have accepted them, she said. They often decide where to go at the last minute, thus reducing the actual figures for out-of-staters and foreigners.
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In, fact, Klein said:
We expect that, systemwide, non-resident students will make-up about 13 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment in the upcoming academic year.
Still, these campuses were built for California's kids: Instead of giving millions of our tax dollars to billionaire carmakers or Hollywood media corporations, maybe we should get our priorities straight — before UCLA turns into nation-state of its own.