LOS ANGELES (AP) — California students are increasingly being courted by out-of-state colleges seeking to take advantage of cutbacks and rising tuition at the Golden State's public universities.
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that schools in neighboring states are stepping up recruitment of California high school students, touting special discounts, small classes and course availability.
The push comes at a time when the University of California and California State University systems are struggling with repeated state funding cuts — $1.6 billion over the past decade — that have caused them to hike tuition, cap enrollment and slash programs.
A recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California found that the number of the state's high school graduates enrolling in UC and CSU dropped from about 22 percent in 2007 to about 18 percent in 2010. UC also is filling seats with more international and out-of-state students who pay higher tuition than resident students.
Current UC and CSU students complain that even if they gain admission and pay increasing fees, they cannot take the courses they need to graduate on time because of cuts in faculty and programs.
That's created a window of opportunity for colleges in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and other western states.
"The gold rush is on, and in this case the gold rush is for college-going students," the University of Oregon's Roger Thompson, vice provost of enrollment management, told the Times.
The universities of Washington and Oregon have both doubled their enrollment of California students for 2012. Maryville University in St. Louis is even offering a $5,000 scholarship to California students.
More recruiters are visiting California high school campuses. Membership in the Regional Admission Counselors of California has tripled in three years.
California students can benefit from the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which offers students from select states lower out-of-state tuition and housing costs that can reduce the cost to the level of a Cal State campus.
"If all these out-of-state colleges are looking for me and want me to go to their college, and the California colleges are just like, 'eh' — they don't really care — I would rather go to the ones that really want me, that will pay me to go to their college," Lakewood high school student Patrick Vidican told the Times.