The Sacramento Bee has a very misleading headline for an article, AM Alert: Are California public universities harder to get into now?, in which the reporter claims that UC and CSU are harder to get into than in the past, based on the following statistics:
In 2013, for example, 21 percent of California high school graduates applied to at least one UC campus, compared to 17 percent in 1996. But the admissions rate stayed relatively flat during that time, with 14 percent of graduates accepted into the system.The contrast is even more stark at CSU, a much larger and less selective system long seen as the university to educate the masses. While about 27 percent of California high school graduates applied to CSU in 2000, and 20 percent were admitted, that figure had risen to 46 percent of graduates in 2013, with only 32 percent accepted.
But those statistics are saying the UC is remaining equally hard to get into (14% of high-school graduates being admitted) and CSU has gotten easier (32% of high-school graduates being admitted, rather than 20%).
The pressure for more students to attend college and the enormously rising cost of private college has made more students apply to college, so that the admissions process seems more competitive, but the public universities are admitting a greater fraction of Californian high-school students than in the past, so objectively, it is easier for Californians to get into public university than in the past.
Of course, paying for it is harder now, as the state continues its trend of disinvesting in post-secondary education, demanding, for example, that UC take 10,000 more students but paying only half the marginal cost of teaching the students. I have no idea how UCSC is going to cope with its share of this demand, as we are already standing-room-only in many classrooms (to handle the current demand the fire marshal already gave permission to over-enroll classes by 10%, on the theory that 10% of students wouldn’t show up for class anyway—we can’t just push that any further ).