The relative presence of international students at UC San Diego has dropped for a fourth straight year, a sign that the school is bending to pressure from lawmakers to enroll greater numbers of students from California.
The drop also stems from the pandemic and tensions between the U.S. and China, which sends more students to the La Jolla school than any other country.
Lawmakers began exerting pressure over the past decade after some UC schools started to heavily recruit foreigners, who pay more than twice as much in tuition, helping campuses balance their budgets.
The Legislature cracked down last year, telling UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley that they had to make a roughly 4 percent cut in the number of undergraduates who come from outside California. That will collectively free up 4,500 slots for Californians over the next five years.
New figures from the UC Office of the President shows that the 8,159international students who enrolled at UCSD last fall represented 19.5 percent of the university’s nearly 42,000 students.
Foreigners accounted for 19.6 percent of the student body in 2020, 21.0 percent in 2019, 21.3 percent in 2018 and 21.6 percent in 2017.
Over the past two years, the number of California residents enrolled at UCSD increased by nearly 1,700, pushing the total to 29,138. But Californians accounted for less than 70 percent of the student body because to school also accepted more students from other parts of the U.S., the UCOP report shows.
UCSD is struggling with runaway growth. Enrollment has increased by more than 13,000 over the past decade. The boom created a campus housing shortage last summer that left more than 3,000 students on waiting lists.
The Legislature has indicated that it wants to add another 6,230 undergraduates systemwide this fall. Some UC campuses cannot accommodate significant increases.
The problem has been complicated by a court decision in Northern California that could force UC Berkeley to reduce space for 3,050 undergraduates and transfer students this fall. The decision stems from a lawsuit by Berkeley residents who say that the university is growing too fast, causing traffic, noise and housing problems.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this story