Posted by James, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm
On choosing UCs vs. out-of-state:
UCs are still cheaper per year than most other college options, but now only by an ever-diminishing bit. The hidden cost is that cuts have made it harder to finish in 4 years and complete all the graduation requirements, so if you can avoid that overhead by going somewhere that has a better structure 4-year program, you may come out ahead after all.
On being financially realistic in your selections:
Yes, but how do you know how much it's going to cost up front? It seems colleges go out of their way to make this opaque and only reveal their hands in individual admission letters (and often only clearly for the first year). It is very difficult for a parent to budget and set appropriate expectations with their students. Meanwhile, it's kaching-kaching for each college app, which basically adds to their revenue and artificially bumps up their selectivity rating.
Posted by N. Goodman, a member of the Menlo-Atherton High School community, on Jul 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Until 2008, about 20% of M/A grads enrolled at a UC school. The percentage has dropped every year since then. But the decline isn't spread evenly across all campuses - the drop is much steeper at UC-Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara, less selective schools with lower out-of-state attendance. It seems that the top students are still getting into and attending UC Berkeley and UCLA, but there's too much competition for those in the middle tier. Or else the budget uncertainties for the UC system make out-of-state schools more attractive than the mid-level UCs in spite of the higher tuition.