Campus & community, Campus news

More than 12,900 offered admission after competitive application period

More than 12,900 high school students who applied to the University of California, Berkeley, during a highly competitive application period, have been offered freshman admission for the 2010-2011 school year, campus officials announced today (Wednesday, April 14). A record number of student applicants, more than 50,000 of them, applied during a period when dwindling state funding for higher education forced the campus to limit enrollment for California residents.

More than 12,900 high school students who applied to the University of California, Berkeley, during a highly competitive application period, have learned the exceptional news that they have been offered admission.

Campus officials announced the preliminary admission figures today (Wednesday, April 14). The 12,915 students who were offered admission to the freshman 2010-2011 class include California residents and out-of-state and international students. During the 2009-10 admission cycle, 12,948 students were offered admission.

Admission officials informed the students of their offers in late March.

More than 50,000 students – the highest on record – applied to UC Berkeley during a period when dwindling state funding for higher education forced the campus to limit enrollment for California residents.

While California residents continue to represent the vast majority of admitted students – more than 70 percent – fewer were offered admission this year: 9,420 for the 2010-11 school year, compared with 11,200 for 2009-10.

The admission rate for the combined fall 2010 and spring 2011 class, including state and non-resident applicants, was 25.6 percent, a decrease from the 26.6 percent admission rate last year. For students offered admission starting in the fall only, the rate was 21.4 percent, down from 21.6 percent for those starting in fall 2009.

All freshman applicants apply to UC Berkeley for fall admission. Starting in 1984, UC Berkeley began offering spring admission to some applicants because undergraduate spaces become available after seniors graduate in December. Figures listed include combined fall and spring admissions for California residents and nonresidents, unless otherwise noted.

Once again, the SAT scores and grade point averages of this year’s admitted class exceeded those of the previous year’s class. The socio-economic makeup of the 2010-2011 class is comparable to admitted classes from previous years. Among racial and ethnic groups, the number of admission offers increased for American Indian and African-American students, as well as for those who declined to provide ethnicity information. Offers decreased for Chicano-Latino students, Asian-American students and white students. For more detailed information on the racial and ethnic breakdown of the admitted class, view the UC Berkeley charts.

While there was a decrease this year in California residents offered admission, there was an increase in offers to out-of-state and international students. Insufficient state funding for California student enrollment has forced campus leaders to reduce enrollment offers to state residents. Other UC campuses have taken similar action. For campus-by-campus comparisons of admissions data, see data from the University of California systemwide office.(UC Berkeley-based data is more current than UC systemwide data.)

The campus increased the number of enrollment offers to international students and out-of-state students as part of an effort to generate additional funds during this time of budget deficits. Since they are not California residents, these students must fund the full cost of their non-resident tuition in addition to what California-resident students pay. Nonresident students pay three times as much in tuition and fees as students from California. The additional nonresident funds will help UC Berkeley maintain academic excellence for all students.

Walter Robinson, assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions, noted that nonresident students bring much more with them than dollars. “These students come from various corners of the country and the world,” he said. “They are all outstanding students and their diversity of experiences and perspectives will further enrich the university experience for the entire student population.”

The university offers admissions to many more students than it plans to enroll because not all admitted students will choose to attend UC Berkeley. Admission offers from UC Berkeley are accepted at a rate that ranges from 20 percent for out-of-state students to 50 percent for international students. Consequently, the number of admission offers provided to such groups are adjusted accordingly. For example, out-of-state students as a group receive more offers of admission than international students. The campus is aiming for a freshman enrollment of 20 percent combined for international and out-of-state students, up from a 13 percent target a year ago.

The increase in nonresident students is one of numerous steps campus leaders have taken to address dwindling state funding. Over the last 12 months, campus leaders have implemented furloughs, ordered staff layoffs, ordered individual campus units to cut costs and identified administrative inefficiencies with an eye toward further cost savings.

Amid those actions, the UC Berkeley Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost have sought to protect the academic mission, especially classroom instruction. The number of key lower division undergraduate courses provided to students remained steady or increased when comparing fall 2009 and fall 2008 data. Additional efforts are underway to further expand undergraduate coursework to ensure students get the courses they need to stay on track and graduate on time.

The campus hopes to enroll 4,100 students for the fall 2010 semester and an additional 950 for the spring term. Students have until May 1 to decide if they will accept the offers of admission. Once admissions officials have confirmed who plans to enroll, they will decide how many of the approximately 200 applicants placed on a waitlist will receive an offer of admission. UC Berkeley – which for years has reached its enrollment targets – and most other UC campuses are using a waitlist for the first time in history as a safety net during these uncertain economic times.

Admission decisions at UC Berkeley are based upon a combination of factors, including grades, coursework, test scores, how the applicant handled challenges and opportunities, indicators of such personal characteristics as leadership, motivation and persistence. Every single application is read and evaluated; most are read twice, and some are read three times.

Campus financial aid officials have, to date, sent 7,530 offers of financial aid packages to the admitted students. The offers include estimated funding from grants and scholarships, parent contributions and other sources. Financial aid officials point out that the estimated student loan-work study portions of these packages have been held to 2009-10 levels.

In addition, residence hall officials are considering a plan to keep student on-campus housing levels at 2009-10 levels. That issue will be decided in the next few weeks.