UC Berkeley boosts nonresident admission, maintains similar ethnic composition in admits

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High school students visit Doe Library during a campus tour.

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UC Berkeley maintained a nearly identical ethnic composition of freshman admits and accepted fewer in-state students this year while increasing nonresident acceptance rates, according to data released Thursday by the UC Office of the President.

The campus accepted 9,219 in-state freshman applicants for fall 2013, a decrease of 1.4 percent from 2012 numbers. The drop in in-state admissions follows a year of continued debate about the role of nonresident students within the UC system. Despite a drop in nonresident admissions last year, UC Berkeley saw a 26 percent jump this year in out-of-state student admissions and a 46.4 percent increase in international student admissions.

This increase is intentional, according to Amy Jarich, assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions, who said the campus has been working toward a goal of 20 percent nonresident undergraduate enrollment, a target she said the campus could meet by the 2014-15 school year.

“(Rising admission for nonresidents) is something that we’re doing just to be able to bring the numbers in line with the available state funding from California,” Jarich said. “The increase definitely is a reflection of the campus’s ongoing effort to build the overall percentage of undergraduate nonresident students.”

The university saw a similar decrease of 2.2 percent in admission for in-state students systemwide. The university admitted 14.3 percent more out-of-state students and 28.5 percent more international students, as compared to last year.

According to a statement from the UC Office of the President, “The slight decline in the number and proportion of admitted students who are Californians reflects the fallout from years of severe budget cuts to UC, which has enrolled thousands of California students for whom it received no state funding.”

Michael Trevino, UC director of undergraduate admissions, echoed this sentiment in a press conference Thursday, noting that nonresident students pay around $23,000 more than resident students annually.

The university has looked to nonresident tuition as a source of potential revenue in the past. The UC Board of Regents considered adopting a formal policy to increase out-of-state enrollment at its November meeting, but UC Student Regent Jonathan Stein and others have voiced concern about further opening the university to out-of-state students.

“There are consequences to dramatically increasing our out-of-state student body,” Stein said at the November meeting. “There’s far less racial diversity, and because the tuition for out-of-state students is higher, there is a corresponding lack of socioeconomic diversity.”

According to UC Berkeley admissions data, 3.6 percent of newly admitted students from California are African American, 0.7 percent are American Indian and 17.7 percent are Hispanic/Latino. Jarich said the campus is looking to increase these rates — which have remained relatively stable over recent years — in part by continuing to work with campus groups such as bridges, the UC Berkeley multicultural center.

The data also report that UCLA had the lowest admission rate across the system, accepting 20.1 percent from an applicant pool of more than 80,000. UC Berkeley accepted 20.8 percent of its applicants.

Libby Rainey covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rainey_l.