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Public Colleges Chase Out-of-State Students, and Tuition

A state audit in March reinforced what many California parents already suspected: On a constant hunt for more revenue, the prestigious University of California system gave favorable admissions treatment to thousands of higher-paying out-of-state and foreign students, to the detriment of Californians.

As a result, admissions to the system have become a bipartisan political issue in California, where the Legislature recently moved to link university funding to enrolling additional California residents.

But at its core, the discontent in California, which is also developing in other states, reflects a broader, fundamental breakdown in the traditional operation of the public university. And it highlights troubling questions about affordability and access, much of the impetus behind the announcement by Hillary Clinton on Wednesday that she was embracing a large part of Bernie Sanders’s proposal to provide free tuition at in-state public colleges.