UC Schools Turning To Foreigners For Diversity, Dollars

DAVIS (CBS13) — The face of UC Davis – and all UC campuses – is rapidly changing.

Walter Robinson is the assistant vice chancellor of undergraduate admissions at UC Davis, where the number of applications from foreign countries has skyrocketed in the last year. International applications at UC Davis from one year ago are up a staggering 97 percent.

“That was the desired effect. That was very intentional. That was not by accident,” Robinson said.

Robinson says recruiters have been looking around the world to places such as China, India, Korea and Canada, encouraging the best and the brightest to apply to UC Davis.

“Diversity of all stripes is important to the UC,” Robinson said.

But is economics a factor?

“Absolutely,” Robinson said.

The economics. It’s pretty straight forward. When Gov. Brown and the Legislature slashed funding to the UC system, administrators took a look at the make-up of their student bodies and started crunching the numbers.

California residents who attend a UC school pay $15,000 a year in tuition and fees. Nonresidents from out of state or from another country pay more than twice that amount — $38,000 annually. For the people who run this institution of higher learning, it was a no brainer.

“Well, it has to come in from somewhere else because clearly it’s not coming from the state,” Robinson said.

But critics are concerned that the University of California may be headed in the wrong direction. They say that by accepting more students who are born in foreign countries, those students who are born here in California could be pushed aside.

One critic from the Higher Education Policy Institute in san Jose says the UC system is in danger of simply taking whoever can pay the most.

But UC Davis student Sarabeth Maciey welcomes the idea of more foreign students.

“I don’t know, maybe California kids need to step up their game to compete, ya know,” she said. “I don’t really see anything wrong with that.”

And Robinson says, like it or not, it’s here to stay. More foreign students are on their way to the campuses of the University of California.

“The world is shrinking and people have paid attention to us for many, many decades and now that we have become more accessible, there’s more students interested in coming here from other places,” he said.

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