Fall numbers show modest enrollment growth
Campus seeks to balance competing concerns

By Marie Felde, Public Affairs

29 November 2001 | A total of 32,128 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Berkeley this fall, an increase of 851 over the same time last year, according to a final tally reported by the campus Nov. 19.

The count represents modest increases in both the number of new students admitted this fall at all levels and the total of all continuing students as the campus works to address a variety of competing pressures.

Some of the pressures are a result of California’s growing high school population and are faced by public colleges and universities statewide. Others, such as an agreement with the city of Berkeley to limit student growth, are unique to the Berkeley campus.

“Our goal each year is to enroll a student body that allows for the best educational experience we can provide. And every year it gets harder and harder to reach equilibrium among the pressures faced by the campus,” said Chancellor Berdahl.

“Already, we turn away nearly three out of four terrifically qualified freshman applicants, and we are being asked to take more as the state’s high school population grows,” Berdahl noted. “We are also committed to increasing opportunities for graduate education. Yet we are well aware that we face workload issues for faculty and staff, housing and parking shortages and an agreement with the city to cap our student population.”

“Overall, I believe we do a very good job managing the student population. We know it will get harder, not easier, and we continue to put a great deal of effort into planning not only for next year, but for the next decade,” he said.

The chancellor cited a significant increase in Berkeley students enrolling in summer sessions as one response to serving more students without adding burdens for the fall and spring semesters.

Berdahl noted that the wild card for the immediate future is state funding, given a growing budget shortfall. He has told both the Academic Senate and the Berkeley Staff Assembly that budget cuts will likely mean a freeze in campus enrollment growth.

Enrollment growth has been a front-burner issue for many years at Berkeley and at many other UC campuses. It is one reason UC requires all its campuses to plan growth through long-range development plans, often referred to by the shorthand, LRDP.

Berkeley’s LRDP was adopted in 1990 and runs through 2005-06. Planning for a new LRPD is already under way. A mitigation agreement negotiated with the City of Berkeley under the current long-range plan places a cap on the number of students attending classes on campus.

Despite growth this fall, enrollment planners say the campus is in good shape and should not exceed the cap this year.
The campus reports student enrollment to the city each April, said Irene Hegarty, director of community relations. Last week, when some city officials expressed concern that the campus might exceed the cap this year, Hegarty reminded them that the cap is an average head count of fall and spring enrollment.

She also noted that it does not include students studying off campus, such as those studying abroad, nor those not on campus during peak hours, such as students in the evening MBA program.

The cap is set at 31,200. Given fall graduations and other changes that routinely decrease enrollment between fall and spring, the campus does not expect to exceed the cap. Last year, the campus reported total enrollment following the provisions of the cap agreement at 29,979 students.

One major pressure on the campus population is the growth in the number of high school graduates in California. Both the state and the UC Office of the President are calling upon UC campuses to do their part to serve these students. The state’s master plan for higher education requires UC to enroll the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates.

One response is the addition of a tenth campus at Merced, which is scheduled to begin admitting students by 2004. Further, the Office of the President has set growth targets for each campus for the 12-year period 1998-99 to 2010-11.

Berkeley was assigned a target of 4,000 additional students and is well along in meeting that goal. It is the smallest percentage growth of all nine campuses.

Of new students admitted this fall, the largest increase was in transfer students with an increase of 187, for a total of 1,671. There are 2,624 new graduate students, 169 more than last fall. And the campus admitted 3,842 freshmen, 107 more than fall 2000.

International students, who comprise 8 percent of the campus’s total population increased by 103 in this fall’s new class.

Detailed data, including historical data and information on student ethnicity, is available on the web at


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