With California universities more expensive and crowded than ever, high school graduates are increasingly leaving the state to attend college.
About 40,000 California high school graduates left the state for a four-year college in 2016, nearly double the 22,000 who left in 2006, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education. By comparison, only about 17,000 first-time freshmen left other states to come to a four-year college in California during 2016.
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The California State University system turns away about 30,000 students per year for lack of space.
The state will need hundreds of thousands more college graduates in coming years to sustain its economy, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Large numbers of students leaving California threaten the state’s future, particularly if many don’t return.
Colleges in several states are thriving thanks to an influx of students from California. Four-year Arizona colleges enrolled more than 5,300 first-time freshmen from California in 2016. Four-year New York colleges enrolled almost 3,500.
Multiple out-of-state four-year colleges have seen enrollment from California more than double in the past 10 years, including the University of Oregon, Northern Arizona University, University of Nevada-Reno, Oregon State University and Boise State University. Some of these colleges — like many in California — are accepting more out-of-state students because they pay higher tuition rates.
These trends could change as California ramps up investment in its colleges. A recent agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders gives California State University an additional $105 million in ongoing funding above Brown’s original budget proposal, and another $167 million for one-time expenses. The University of California gets another $177 million for one-time expenses.
The UC and CSU systems put off raising tuition.