Press Release

Almost 13,000 high school students offered admission to UC Berkeley

| 07 April 2009

The University of California, Berkeley, announced today (Tuesday, April 7) that it has offered freshman admission for the 2009-2010 school year to almost 13,000 high school students, including several nationally-ranked debaters, a world-champion figure skater, and a set of triplets.

A record number of students - 48,640 in all - applied to UC Berkeley for admission to the fall 2009 freshman class. Among those applicants, 10,503 were offered admission, resulting in an admission rate of 21.6 percent for fall 2009. The fall 2008 admit rate was 21.5 percent.

In addition, admission was offered to 2,445 students for the spring 2010 semester. In total, when combining both fall and spring admission offers, the admission rate for the entire 2009-10 admitted class is 26.6 percent. Last year's rate was 26.1 percent.

All freshman applicants apply to UC Berkeley for fall admission. Since 1984, however, UC Berkeley also has offered spring admission to some students because additional spaces open when seniors graduate at the end of the fall semester.

To ensure that UC Berkeley continues to enroll a broad cross-section of students, the campus is aiming for the same target enrollment levels that existed a year ago: approximately 4,300 students for fall 2009 and 950 for spring 2010. Some University of California campuses have had to reduce targeted freshman enrollment for the coming school year because of budget constraints and other factors.

Although the individual achievements of the admitted students are extraordinary - the group includes a nationally-ranked fencer, a professional mountain biker, and Junior Olympics champions in Irish dancing, rock climbing and kayaking - as a group, the admitted class has not changed notably from that of 2008-09. This year's newly-admitted students' average family income, geographical representation and academic performance, along with other factors, are very comparable to those of students admitted a year ago.

Admission officials note that they are not seeing any clear trends that suggest the state and national economic downturn is changing the makeup of students who apply or of the students who are competitive for admission.

"Considering all of the uncertainty surrounding applicant behavior in this most challenging economic climate, I am pleased with the overall outcome," said Walter Robinson, UC Berkeley director of undergraduate admission. "We've admitted another incredibly talented and diverse group of students from every corner of the state and elsewhere."

A review of the newly-released freshman admission data, which now combines fall and spring admission data and compares it to 2008-09 data, reveals the following:

  • Academic performance. The median grade point average remains 3.91 (4.0 scale). The overall SAT average was up to 2033 from 2020 last year. There were small increases in each of the individual test scores as well.
  • Parental income. The median parental income increased to $88,800 for 2009-10 from $82,270 for the previous academic year, with increases in the upper and lower quartile groups as well. However, the number of admitted students from families with income of less than $30,000 increased slightly to 1, 582 from 1,554.
  • First-generation college students. The number of admitted students whose parents have little or no college education was essentially unchanged, compared to a year ago. About 2,900 students report that neither parent has a bachelor's degree; and almost 1,800 report that neither parent has attended a four-year or two-year college.
  • Ethnicity and representation. Asian American students represent about 38 percent of the admitted students, up from almost 37 percent a year ago; white students continue to represent about 34 percent of the class; Chicano-Latino students' representation remains at about 13 percent; Filipino-Pilipino and African American students remain at about 3 percent each; and American Indian students remain at about 0.5 percent. International students continue to represent about 5 percent of the admitted class. Collectively, underrepresented students (African American, Chicano-Latino and American Indian) continue to represent 17 percent of the admitted class.
  • Gender. Women continue to make up 56 percent of the admitted students.

While campus admission officials have yet to see any clear indications of ripple effects from the economic downturn, they don't rule out that it could just be a matter of time.

Given today's economic conditions, Robinson said, some students may choose colleges and universities closer to home. Based on that possibility, UC Berkeley offered admission to about 300 more students for the coming school year when compared to the 2008-09 academic year. Robinson is anticipating that, with such an adjustment, the campus can remain on track to reach its target goal of enrolling 5,250 students and maintaining enrollment at the 2008-09 school year level.

So far, campus financial aid officials are seeing no clear links between the economic downturn and the population of students applying for aid.

However, among students already enrolled at UC Berkeley, about 500 who qualified for partial Pell Grant funding last year now qualify for the full maximum Pell Grant because their family income has dropped. This means there are more families making less than $20,000 this coming year, a possible warning of things to come, according to Cheryl Resh, the campus's financial aid director. This year's Pell Grant awards, the federal financial aid for low-income families, will range from a minimum of $976 to a maximum of $5,350 for the academic school year.

Resh said her office is keeping an eye on such changes, as well as other possible indicators of a changing financial scene. Resh encourages students to submit a financial aid appeal to her office if their family's financial circumstances are substantially different from what was reflected on their 2009-10 financial aid application.

The earlier the financial aid office can address a student's altered financial and family circumstances - due to a parent losing a job, a sudden medical expense not covered by insurance, or recent death in the family - the sooner the family can plan. Resh's office is expediting the processing of these appeals throughout the spring.

More than 8,800 newly admitted students received financial aid offers when acceptance notices were posted online on March 26. Students have until May 1 to submit their statements of intent to register at UC Berkeley.

Admission decisions at UC Berkeley are based on a combination of factors including grades, coursework, test scores, how the applicant handles challenges and opportunities, and indicators of personal characteristics including leadership, motivation and persistence.

Additional detailed UC Berkeley freshman admission data is available via the following Web links:

The University of California systemwide headquarters also provides campus-by-campus data, with most charts showing data for California residents only, at: http://www.ucop.edu/news/factsheets/fall2009adm.html.