Report 2015-107 Recommendation 15 Responses

Report 2015-107: The University of California: Its Admissions and Financial Decisions Have Disadvantaged California Resident Students (Release Date: March 2016)

Recommendation #15 To: University of California

To ensure that its recruiting efforts benefit residents, the university should prioritize recruiting residents over nonresidents. In particular, the university should focus its recruiting efforts broadly to ensure that it effectively recruits resident underrepresented minorities. For example, the university could establish a limit on the amount of funds it dedicates to nonresident recruiting. Further, it should develop a process to better track its nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The University continues to prioritize the recruitment of California residents over nonresident students. In 2016-17, California residents constituted 83 percent of all undergraduates enrolled in the UC system. Moreover, the President's goal of enrolling 10,000 more California resident undergraduates over three years (to be fulfilled by the end of the 2017-18 academic year) is on track and nearly fulfilled. Finally, in May 2017, the UC Board of Regents approved Policy 2109 limiting out-of-state and international student enrollment at UC. The Regents voted to cap nonresident undergraduate enrollment to 18 percent at the Davis, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz campuses. The remaining campuses—Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego—may not exceed the percentage of nonresidents enrolled in the 2017-18 academic year. The Regents plan to review this policy in three years.

  • Completion Date: May 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

The new accounting codes implemented by the university are a positive step; however, the university has not yet implemented a policy to prioritize recruitment of residents over nonresidents, nor has it taken steps to limit the amount campuses spend on nonresident recruiting.

Furthermore, the nonresident enrollment cap of 18 percent exceeds the percentage of nonresidents enrolled during our audit period. This cap also allows campuses that currently exceed the 18 percent cap to maintain the 2017-18 academic year levels of nonresident enrollment. Secondly, provision 4 allows that the enrollment of nonresident students can increase at the campuses that are currently below the cap to up to 18 percent of their enrollment. As a result, the new university's policy will result in an increased enrollment of nonresident students.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

1-Year Agency Response

On October 1, 2016 the Office of the President implemented new accounting codes that will help campuses better track nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures. All campuses will be required to distinguish nonresident recruiting expenses from other expenses this fiscal year, and that data will be available when the actual results are published for 2016-17 in November 2017.

The University has always prioritized the recruitment of California residents over nonresidents. Over 83 percent of all undergraduate students are California residents. To further demonstrate this commitment, the UC Board of Regents plans to adopt a nonresident enrollment policy at its May 2017 meeting. This policy will set a limit on UC nonresident undergraduate enrollment.

  • Estimated Completion Date: November 2017
  • Response Date: March 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

The new accounting codes implemented by the university are a positive step; however, the university has not yet implemented a policy to prioritize recruitment of residents over nonresidents, nor has it taken steps to limit the amount campuses spend on nonresident recruiting.

However, the proposed nonresident enrollment cap of 20 percent, which the university subsequently lowered to 18 percent, exceeds the percentage of nonresidents enrolled during our audit period. Further, this "cap" has two elements that could result in an increase of nonresident enrollment at many campuses. First, provision 5 of the proposed policy allows campuses that currently exceed the cap to maintain the current levels of nonresident enrollment and grow those levels in proportion to the enrollment increase of resident students. Secondly, provision 4 allows that the enrollment of nonresident students can increase at the campuses that are currently below the cap. Specifically, provision 4 states: "For the University of California system as a whole, and at every campus that currently enrolls less than [18] percent of its undergraduates from outside California, California residents shall continue to represent a minimum of eighty percent of all undergraduate students."


6-Month Agency Response

See attached

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2016
  • Response Date: August 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

In its attachment, the university stated it disagreed with the our assessment that the "University...has taken [no steps] to ensure that its recruiting efforts benefit residents." To support its position, the university noted that its Fall 2016 admission results demonstrate that its recruitment activities have been successful in admitting more residents, including sizeable increases in the admission of students from underrepresented groups. The university provided data on its Fall 2016 admission of freshman residents and community college transfers. Furthermore, the university indicated that it is in the process of finalizing new accounting codes that will help campuses better track nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures.

While the increased enrollment of residents is a positive development, the university has not indicated any policy or recruitment changes that would have caused this increased enrollment. To address this aspect of our recommendation, the university should demonstrate that its policy is to prioritize recruiting the residents over nonresidents. Further, the university's improved process to track nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures should entail more than the addition of new accounting codes. Rather, it should involve monitoring of recruiting expenditures to ensure that campuses' recruiting activities are consistent with university and state policy.


60-Day Agency Response

The University strongly disagrees with the suggestion that it does not currently prioritize the recruitment of California residents. In 2014-15, the University spent 56 percent more to recruit California residents than it did nonresidents. In fact, only 23 percent of UC recruiting expenses is exclusively devoted to recruiting nonresidents. On this point, then, the University believes that its current recruitment efforts are completely aligned with the California State Auditor's recommendation. (Fully Implemented)

Regarding the recommendation that the "University should focus its recruiting efforts broadly to ensure that it effectively recruits resident underrepresented minorities," preliminary data from the 2015-16 freshman recruitment cycle indicate that UC campuses continue to be fully aligned with this goal. As noted in the University's April 4, 2016 news release,

"The latest admission figures show a substantial increase in the number and percentage of California freshmen from historically underrepresented groups, representing 37.2% of all California freshmen admitted for fall 2016. Admission of Chicano/Latinos increased to 32 percent of the total number of admitted students, up from 28.8% last year. The number of admitted African-American students jumped 32% over 2015."

Preliminary admission figures for transfer students also show robust increases in the number of students from underrepresented groups who have been admitted to all UC campuses. Although the transfer admissions process will not be completed until mid-June, preliminary data indicate that UC campuses have admitted substantially more transfer students from underrepresented groups over the previous year. (Fully Implemented)

Finally, the University will develop a process to better track its nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures. These new processes will be implemented no later than December 2016.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2016
  • Response Date: May 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: No Action Taken

The university's response does not identify any new steps that it has taken to ensure that its recruiting efforts benefit residents. Furthermore, the response does not indicate whether the university plans to establish a limit on the amount of funds it dedicates to nonresident recruiting, which we cited as an example of how the university might focus its recruiting efforts broadly to ensure that it effectively recruits resident underrepresented minorities . Finally, the university did not provide detail related to the process it intends to implement that will allow it to better track its nonresident and resident recruiting expenditures.


All Recommendations in 2015-107

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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