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Record number of students apply to UC Berkeley, but growth in applications slows

| 23 January 2009

More than 48,600 high school students have applied for admission to the University of California, Berkeley's fall 2009 freshman class, reflecting another record year for the number of applications filed, campus officials announced today (Friday, Jan. 23).

However, UC Berkeley and numerous other campus administrators in the University of California system have noticed a slowdown in the volume of applications submitted for this fall when compared to fall 2008 applications filed. Across the UC system, among California residents applying for admission, fall 2009 applications collectively increased just 1.6 percent between 2008 and 2009, compared to 7.7 percent between 2007 and 2008, according to UC systemwide officials.

At UC Berkeley, 48,627 California residents, non-residents and international students applied for fall 2009 freshman admission, up just slightly from 48,416 students who applied for fall 2008 freshman admission, a difference of 0.4 percent. In comparison, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of applications filed between fall 2007 and fall 2008.

Campus admissions officials said the cause of the slowdown is unclear, but they noted that the current economic downturn could be a factor. Walter Robinson, the campus's director of undergraduate admissions, pointed out that students with family household incomes of $60,000 to $99,999 reflected the largest drop in applications, a decrease of more than 300 applications compared to fall 2008 applications for that income group. Most other fall 2009 applicant income groups had an increase or relatively small decrease in applications when compared to the previous year.

On the academic front, the strength of the fall 2009 UC Berkeley applicant group remains as strong or stronger than the fall 2008 applicant group in terms of grade point averages and SAT scores. The pool remains diverse and shows a 3 percent increase in applications from underrepresented minority students (African Americans, American/Indians and Chicano/Latinos).

UC Berkeley plans to offer fall admission to approximately 4,300 new freshmen, the same enrollment target as fall 2008. Students are evaluated based on a combination of factors including grades, coursework, test scores, how they have handled challenges and opportunities, and indicators of personal characteristics including leadership, motivation and persistence. Freshman admission decisions will be announced in late March.

Additional and detailed data on UC Berkeley freshman applicants, as well as on transfer applicants, is posted online along with comparable data from other UC campuses. The data is provided by the UC systemwide headquarters; in most cases the data refers to California residents only.