“California Dreamin'” is Becoming a Reality

For many out-of-state public and private universities and colleges, the California applicant market was just a dream, but is now becoming a reality.

The California budget crisis has caused huge cuts in one of America’s finest public higher education system, specifically a $1.7 billion decrease in Fiscal Year 2012 alone. This level of disinvesting in its higher education, has led some California campuses to take extraordinary acts such as freezing of enrollments, universal waiting lists, limiting class offerings, unhealthy academic advising ratios and unprecedented tuition increases to try to keep their educational houses in order.

The student response: a mass exodus to other states. Between 2000 and 2010, higher education saw a 90 percent increase in out-of-state matriculation.

A recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California found that California high school graduates going to University of California or California State schools has fallen from 21.5 percent in 2006 to 17.8 percent in 2010, with an almost 20 percent enrollment drop among California’s top high school students (as measured by completion of the A-G course requirements to attend a CSU or UC school) decreasing from 67 percent to 55 percent.

Exacerbating the situation further is the fact that the heralded community college transfer system is being severely compromised by cuts to the community college and state university systems. No longer can those fortunate enough to get into a community college and into the classes they need find an automatic matriculation to the Cal State system. For students, this means education purgatory in California or looking elsewhere.

This November, California voters will be asked to approve a tax increase referendum that if not approved, will pile on further cuts to the California higher education system, leaving officials no choice but to close programs and further raise tuitions.

All of this is creating an opportunity for non-California schools to step in and recruit these California students to their campuses. Naturally, California’s neighboring states like Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon have been reaping the benefits of this migration, but schools across the country, including on the East coast, are starting to experience upticks in California applications and admissions.

Noticing this dynamic shift shaping up over a year ago, Greenwood Hall began studying the changing market and preparing a California Admissions Plan that gives non-California schools a blueprint to strategically recruit in the Golden State.

The California students are there and are looking for options. Provide them a quality education, a good value proposition and a compelling college experience, and “California Dreamin’” can become a reality for your school.