There's welcome sign at California State University campuses for new graduate students.
But it has an asterisk.
These high achievers are welcome so long as they come from Oregon or Nebraska or Canada or Brazil — or anywhere other than California.
If you're from the Golden State, sorry. The doors are closed.
CSU officials recently notified the 23 campuses that they will not be allowed to admit California residents to graduate programs for the spring semester. The policy doesn't extend to non-residents.
The reason, of course, is money.
California residents get a break on tuition; non-residents do not.
For graduate-level courses, most residents will pay about $7,300 in tuition and fees this school year. For the same 24 units, non-residents will pay about $8,900 more.
CSU officials don't deny that the decision was driven by finances. State funding for the university system was reduced by $750 million in the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
A mid-year cut of $250 million would be triggered if voters reject Proposition 30, the initiative sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown to temporarily increase income and sales taxes to help pay for education programs.