Some students in some states, including California, are finding it more difficult to get into the state flagships than the Ivies.

Colleges’ Wider Search for Applicants Crowds Out Local Students
Wall Street Journal
October 8, 2014

Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.

But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years.

Mr. Anthony’s experience is an example of an aftershock still reverberating across higher education in the wake of the recession: Qualified residents are getting crowded out of their state universities by students paying higher tuition from out-of-state and foreign countries.

“If I had been born five years earlier, I would have gotten in,” said Mr. Anthony.


A Wall Street Journal analysis of 559 public four-year colleges and universities showed that between the fall of 2008—the last year before school budgets were affected by the recession—and the fall of 2012, 54 schools decreased enrollment of freshman in-state students by 10% or more, while increasing enrollment of nonresident freshmen by 10% or more. An additional 35 showed swings of at least 5%.

The phenomenon was most prevalent at flagship universities. Nearly 600 fewer Californians enrolled as freshmen at Berkeley last year than in 2008. At the same time, the number of out-of-state and foreign students each climbed by about 500.