The University of California admitted 43 percent more out-of-state and international students this year, continuing controversial efforts to use nonresident students’ heftier fees to mitigate the effects of decreased state funding.
The UC also saw a dramatic increase in freshman applications. In response, it accepted a record 80,289 freshman students for the fall 2012 term, according to data released by the UC Office of the President Tuesday.
The data show nonresident students comprising about 73 percent of the total increase in admitted students compared to last year, and while the number of in-state students who were admitted increased by 3.6 percent, the admissions rate for those students decreased by about 4 percent.
However, Kate Jeffery, the UC’s interim director of undergraduate admissions, maintained that all students who met the UC’s academic requirements were offered admission to at least one campus.
At UC Berkeley, the admission rate for California students dropped by about 1 percent. The campus was also the only one to admit fewer nonresident students than the year before, despite a nearly 50 percent surge in nonresident applications. Admissions rates dropped about 12 percent and 13 percent for international and out-of-state students, respectively.
Anne De Luca, associate vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment and acting director of undergraduate admissions, said the acceptances offered to nonresident students dropped because of an unexpectedly high yield rate last year, which resulted in more students attending than anticipated.
“If that same percentage of students says yes again this year, we need fewer offers to get to the original intended amount,” De Luca said in an email. Last year, about 40 percent of accepted nonresident students enrolled.
Campus officials have been working to increase the amount of nonresident students — who pay close to $23,000 more than resident students — to 20 percent of the total undergraduate student body over the past couple years. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer told The Daily Californian in fall 2010 that reaching this target would generate $60 million in additional revenue per year. According to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore, nonresident students currently total 16 percent of undergraduates.
While UC Berkeley attracts the most nonresident applicants, Jeffery said the proportion of out-of-state and international undergraduates at the UC “is still very small and certainly small compared to some other public institutions in other states.”
Although affirmative action at the UC is illegal under Proposition 209, the UC has been working to increase diversity by other means, including the implementation of new admissions policies.
New UC policies this year expanded from admitting the top 4 percent of eligible students at each California high school to the top 9 percent and no longer required freshman applicants to submit SAT II subject test scores. These changes were implemented so the UC could be more “inclusive” in the admissions process, Jeffery said.
These policies, Jeffery said, may have contributed to the small gains seen in the admission rates of underrepresented minority students this year.
According to the data released Tuesday, black students make up about 4.4 percent of admitted UC students, up from 4.1 percent last year. The number of Chicano and Latino students increased by 1.3 percent from 26 percent last year, while the percentage of American Indian students remained at 0.7 percent.
Efforts by the Berkeley campus to increase the number of underrepresented minority students have drawn criticism from both sides of the affirmative action debate, with claims that there is either too little or too much being done to change the ethnic diversity of the student body.
Shawn Lewis, president of Berkeley College Republicans, said in an email that “(a)ny policy to increase representation based on race or ethnic identity will only be a disservice to students and the institution of the University itself.”
Berkeley High School senior Aillen Zazueta-Bella, who was rejected by the campus, disagreed.
On April 8, she — along with demonstrators from the activist group BAMN and the student Defend Affirmative Action Party — held a press conference that criticized the campus’s admissions policies, stating that the campus discriminates against qualified underrepresented students.
The demonstrators called on the campus to double the number of underrepresented students admitted for the fall semester.
However, the released statistics show the campus making small gains toward increasing the amount of Chicano and Latino students admitted. Chicano and Latino students make up 17.8 percent of the admitted freshman students, up 1.4 percent from last year.
Campus and UC officials have held that increasing ethnic diversity also adds cultural diversity, something that Jeffery said can also be achieved by admitting nonresident students.