Californians Are More Likely To Go Out-Of-State For College. Here’s Why

More Californians are going out of state for college than ever before.

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that almost 40,000 Californians left the Golden State for college in 2020—a 27% increase from 2010 numbers. The Sacramento Bee reports that four states enrolled more than 10% of their first-time students from California in 2020, including Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii and Idaho. The northeast was also a popular college destination, with New York drawing roughly 3,000 California freshmen and Massachusetts drawing about 2,2000 students. 


Most students went out-of-state for college in 2008 to 2014, when California’s public universities raised in-state tuition in response to budget cuts, according to The Sacramento Bee. 

The University of California system’s student population reflects that, with more and more students coming from out of California. Just last year, roughly 20% of new undergraduates in the UC system were from out of state—a significant jump from the 9% just a decade ago. 

However, cost is just one factor behind students going out-of-state. California public colleges are also dealing with high demand. A recent report from the Campaign for College Opportunity found that the UC and California State University systems simply didn’t have enough admission slots for all the eligible students who applied. 


This year saw some change, however, with the UC system accepting a record number of California first-year students for fall 2022. The Los Angeles Times reports that the UC system admitted 85,268 California first-year applicants—a 1.2% increase from last year. Moreover, out-of-state students dropped by 19%, and offers to international students declined by 12.2%. 

“The University’s enduring dedication to California’s young people and its partnership with the state continue to attract unprecedented numbers of talented Golden State students,” UC President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “It is our privilege to be able to offer admission to the state’s largest-ever class of California students.”

Sources: The Sacramento Bee, U.S. Department of Education, Los Angeles Times

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