Private Colleges Boom As Calif Universities Falter

Ann McClure's picture

California's public higher education crisis has a flip side: swelling enrollment, expanding faculty, and state-of-the-art construction at the state's private colleges and universities.

With five years of funding cuts causing stumbles in the state's public higher education systems, California students are increasingly turning to private institutions, as well as out-of-state schools, to get their degrees.

California independent colleges report big upticks in enrollment of both freshmen and transferring students disillusioned with spiraling tuition for fewer classes at California State University, University of California, and community colleges. Universities in neighboring states also say they're seeing more interest from California students than ever before.

"When it takes more than six years to graduate from a public university, that makes all of California's private schools a much better value for the money," said Homa Shabahang, vice provost at the University of La Verne, where enrollment has soared almost 70 percent over the past five years to 8,600 students.

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