UC admissions data for 2015-16 see increase in nonresidents, reflect state budget negotiations

Ariel Hayat/File

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UC admissions data released Thursday indicate an increase in nonresident and transfer admissions for fall 2015 compared with previous years’ statistics, while California freshman applicants faced a 1.7 percent decline in acceptances.

The results were released after a two-month delay that was primarily due to uncertainty about state funding for enrollment, according to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein. Because the wait list has been fully processed and transfer data added, Klein said, the delay allowed for a “complete picture of who has been offered a spot at a UC campus.”

The University of California admitted a total of 92,324 students from its freshman applicant pool. The admissions reflect a slight decrease in the systemwide admission rate of California students, from 62.9 percent in 2014 to 60 percent. All campuses — except Merced, Riverside and San Diego — admitted fewer California resident freshman than they did a year ago.

The admission rate at UC Berkeley dropped 1 percent this year to 17 percent, because the campus experienced a 7 percent increase in freshman applicants despite a negligible increase in enrollment seats, according to Anne De Luca, campus associate vice chancellor of admissions and enrollment. The incoming UC Berkeley freshman class includes students from 55 states and U.S. territories combined and from 90 countries.

Systemwide, out-of-state and international acceptances increased by about 12.8 percent from last year. The report states that admissions are consistent with the university’s “conservative approach” during a period of budget negotiations with the state.

The state budget, passed in June, will provide $25 million in additional funding if the university indicates that it will enroll an additional 5,000 in-state students by the 2016-17 academic year. Klein said, however, that it is too early to predict the likelihood of meeting that target.

Out-of-state students currently pay about $23,000 more in tuition than California residents do, according to Stephen Handel, UC associate vice president of undergraduate admissions. After the UC Board of Regents’ approval of an 8 percent nonresident tuition increase in May, however, that number will jump to about $24,700 for the upcoming academic year.

Revenue from nonresident students “helps to make up for the cutbacks in state support received over the years,” Handel said.


Despite the drop in acceptance of California residents, the university will continue to guarantee admission to at least one of its campuses to all students in the top 9 percent of their high school class or of state students.

All UC campuses, except Berkeley, also admitted more transfers from California community colleges than they did last year, which Handel believes reflects an overall trend in the pursuit of higher education nationwide.

The university aims to reach a 2-to-1 freshman-to-transfer enrollment ratio.

“I anticipate that in the next couple of years, we’ll have to accommodate even more transfer students,” Handel said.

The diversity of admitted freshmen this year was relatively stable when compared with last year. Asian American and Latino admissions increased, while black admissions remained unchanged and white admissions saw a slight decline.

Starting in fall for the first time, 15 percent of UC Berkeley freshman admits will be able to choose from three alternative enrollment options, designed to accommodate more freshmen. These students can choose to study in London during the fall semester with the new Global Edge program, take courses through UC Berkeley Extension’s Fall Program for Freshman or take the fall semester off and join their peers on campus in January 2016.

Contact Ariel Hayat at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ArielHayat.