The University of California has undermined residents by admitting a growing number of nonresident students, some of whom were less qualified than in-state students, California's auditor said in a scathing report released Tuesday.
Out-of-state students pay significantly more than in-state students. But state Auditor Elaine Howle said those admissions come at the expense of California students who are meant to benefit from a public university system considered tops in the country.
"As a public institution, the university should serve primarily those who provide for its financial and civic support — California residents," Howle wrote. "However, over the past several years, the university has failed to put the needs of residents first."
University of California President Janet Napolitano blasted the audit as seriously deficient, not helpful and unfair. She argued nonresident admissions have helped keep doors open for resident students at a time when state assistance has dropped considerably.
The audit undermines the work of faculty and staff who have kept standards high "during a period when state funding was cut by about one third," Napolitano wrote in response.