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UC enrollment down next year

By David Scharfenberg, Daily Planet staff
Friday April 05, 2002

Some students concerned with decline in minority admissions 

Compared to last year, UC Berkeley has accepted fewer minority students and fewer students overall, while the statewide University of California system has accepted more minority students and more students overall, according to admissions figures released Thursday. 

Overall admissions for next year’s UC Berkeley freshman class are down 2.5 percent, while admissions for “underrepresented” student groups – African-Americans, Chicano/Latinos and Native Americans – are down 2.2 percent. White admissions are down 1.7 percent. 

System-wide, UC admissions are up 4.9 overall, and 7.6 percent for underrepresented groups. 

Some UC Berkeley students are concerned about the decline in minority admissions, no matter how small. 

“Any decline is not a good thing,” said student Senator Sajid Khan. “California is a majority-minority state and it’s time to make our campuses more reflective of that.” 

UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore noted that admissions are down in all ethnic groups, including the 1.7 percent decline for whites. She added that the university will work hard to convince students of all backgrounds to attend. 

“We greatly value diversity on this campus,” Gilmore said. 

Hanan Eisenman, spokesman for the larger UC system, said it is difficult to determine the reasons for increased application and acceptance rates for minorities, and all students, at UC universities state-wide. But he suggested that a combination of three university programs may have had an effect.  

Prior to this year, Eisenman noted, UC accepted 50 percent of students on grades alone and examined the rest through a “comprehensive review” process, which includes an assessment of both academics and qualities like leadership and motivation. This year, UC moved to comprehensive review for all students.  

Eisenman said this policy shift may have allowed for greater acceptance of minority students, but emphasized that the university put it in place to get a broader picture of all applicants. 


Second, Eisenman said, for the second straight year, UC has guaranteed admission to the top four percent of students at every California high school for the second straight year, broadening the university’s net. 

Finally, Eisenman said, a $180 million outreach program to high school students may have had an effect.  

But Wally Adeyemo, UC Berkeley’s student body president said these efforts are too scattered, and that a more focused plan is required to boost minority enrollment. 

“I don’t feel that we have a comprehensive, strategic plan for increasing minority enrollment in the UC system,” said Adeyemo, who is African-American. 

In a statement, UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions and Enrollment Richard Black said the university reduced overall acceptances by about 100 students this year because more students have been accepting UC Berkeley offers of admission, and the university wants to hold steady on freshman enrollment. 

Black said the university is committed to a 15-year agreement with the city, signed in 1990, that places a cap on UC Berkeley enrollment. 

Gilmore said the university has not yet completed calculations for next year, but expects to be in compliance with the enrollment cap.