A record number of students have accepted offers of admission to UC Berkeley’s incoming freshman class, including an increased number of out-of-state and international students totalling 30 percent, according to data released by the UC Office of the President Thursday.
Over the past three years, the number of California resident enrollment has been steadily declining, while the number of out-of-state and international students has been on the rise — a 14.4 percent increase for out-of-state students and a 4.6 percent increase for international students, respectively, since the 2009-10 school year.
Systemwide, a total of 39,989 admitted freshmen plan to enroll for fall 2011, of whom 88 percent are California residents, while nonresidents represent a total of 13.9 percent, as compared with 10.7 percent in fall 2010. Currently, less than 6 percent of all UC undergraduates are nonresidents, according to a UCOP statement.
“Even with the significant fee increases that we’ve had in the past, the demand for access to the university continues to grow,” said Patrick Lenz, vice president for budget and capital resources for UCOP. “We’ve seen that campus growth almost at every single campus, and we’ve seen increase in underrepresented students being admitted to the university.”
According to Walter Robinson, campus assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate enrollment, the number of out-of-state and international students attending UC Berkeley has been increasing to offset a lack of funding for students due to the UC being overenrolled by about 11,000 students systemwide.
He added that the initial increase in nonresident students was necessary to offset the budget deficit from the state and bring the overall campus nonresident population to about 20 percent within the next few years.
“We started this whole trajectory of setting a nonresident enrollment target so we wouldn’t have to reduce the total number of entering undergraduates,” Robinson said. “Without the nonresident fees, we would have to reduce our total number of Californians by more than the number we’ve currently reduced them by.”
While UCLA has the same percentage of international students enrolled as freshmen for the 2011-12 school year — 11.4 percent — out-of-state students make up only 6.9 percent of the incoming freshmen, as opposed to UC Berkeley’s 18.4 percent.
However, Robinson said some nonresident applicants may be at a disadvantage as compared to California residents. Though the campus reviews applications holistically — where each application is read in its entirety and scored by a reader — nonresident students must be determined to be academically equal to or stronger than California residents.
Additionally, while the university has a way to evaluate California students based on their honors coursework — which is approved by the university — nonresident students who complete honors coursework often do not receive the benefit of those classes simply because the university has no way of evaluating those classes.
“When you compare the nonresident admits, you will see students with, by and large, stronger academic indicators,” Robinson said. “They usually bring a larger number of academic subjects, and many of those courses are honors, but we just can’t count them.”
Robinson said that though different campuses have used different strategies to offset their overenrollment, UC Berkeley chose to increase its number of nonresident students because it is more attractive than other campuses to those students.