A quadruple increase over the last decade of out-of-state students who pay higher tuition at the University of California but who may have lower grades and test scores has "undermined" the 10-school system's mission to serve California residents according to a 116-page audit.

The report, requested a year ago by Democratic state Assemblyman Mike Gipson, claims that "the university’s decision to increase the enrollment of nonresidents has made it more difficult for California residents to gain admission to the university." State Auditor Elaine Howle, who authored the report with her staff, has recommended that state legislature somehow cap the number of non-California students the UC system admits.

Non-residents, who represent 1 in 5 students at popular campuses like UCLA and UC Berkeley, pay $38,108 — roughly three times the $13,400 tuition charged to in-state students as Chronicle observes.

Rebutting the audit, UC system president Janet Napolitano wrote that “If anything has constrained the enrollment of California students, it has been reductions in state funding. Nonresidents pay the full cost of their education — and more.” Since 2008, non residents have provided $728 million to the University of California.

The incentive to admit non-residents might be traced to 2008. Then, individual campuses were first allowed to hold on to extra tuition money they paid.

Meanwhile, the LA Times points out that UC has agreed to admit 5,000 more California residents for fall 2016 in order to receive $25 million in funding. The system guarantees admission to a UC campus provided that students are in the top 9% of their high school class and maintain a 3.0 grade point average over required classes. Often, such students are offered a place at UC Merced even if they do not list it as a top choice, according to the audit. Alternatively, non-residents are disproportionately offered their first-choice campus if admitted.

As the Business Times frames the situation, the University of California has been in a standoff over its budget with Governor Brown. "Providing adequate state funding is the best way to increase the number of California students at UC," Napolitano's rebuttal argued.

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