The University of California, Los Angeles, campus. The university system gave favorable admissions treatment to thousands of higher-paying out-of-state and foreign students, a state audit found. Credit Brad Torchia for The New York Times SACRAMENTO — Over three generations, the Michael family forged a deep bond with the University of California, dating back nearly 50 years to when Jay Dee Michael Sr. was the university system’s vice president and chief lobbyist.

Family members proudly displayed degrees from the campuses in Los Angeles, Davis, Berkeley and Santa Barbara. And when Mr. Michael died last year, his family asked that memorial donations go to a U.C. Davis institute. Recently, though, the relationship has soured, a victim of the economic forces buffeting public universities.

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