Big jump in number of freshmen selecting UC Berkeley for enrollment this fall reflected in all ethnicities

by Kathleen Scalise

Berkeley -- New students from all ethnic backgrounds admitted to the University of California at Berkeley for the fall have accepted in unusually large numbers. The 1996-97 freshman class will increase a projected 10 percent above the enrollment target and gives the campus cause for celebration over minority recruitment.

"I am pleased by this new evidence of Berkeley's increasing attractiveness to students," said The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol T. Christ. "We will be adding sections to our fall freshman offerings in order to ensure that students will be able to take the courses they need."

As of June 27, 3,921 freshmen had accepted UC Berkeley's offer to enroll for the semester beginning Aug. 20, up from 3,549 students this time last year. While the total number of applications to UC Berkeley jumped by approximately 10 percent this year, the number of students offered admission was up only slightly over last year. However, many more students who were offered a place accepted.

The new numbers reflect more students from every ethnic background choosing to enroll at UC Berkeley.

Latino students showed the greatest rate of increase in the acceptance rate -- 11.1 percent over last year. Other increases were seen by Asian Americans at 4.8 percent, African Americans at 4 percent and Chicanos at 3.3 percent. White students accepted at a 1.3 percent higher rate and American Indians at 0.5 percent.

The increase is spread widely across majors, with the biggest jump in the College of Chemistry followed by the College of Letters and Science.

Acceptance numbers for transfer students are also up from last year.

Patrick Hayashi, associate vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment, said the incoming class is good news for the campus.

"The large enrollment is really an indication Berkeley is the place Californians want to go," he said. "More students are applying and more students whom we admit are deciding to come."

He attributes the increase both to the strength of UC Berkeley's academic program and the rich, diverse nature of the educational experience it provides.

The additional 350 or more freshmen expected to arrive this fall mean not only increased demand for some courses, but added demand for housing, orientation programs, support services and financial aid.

"Because we identified the possibility of large numbers early, we are going to do quite well," said Hayashi.

A special committee with representatives from more than 20 campus programs is planning how best to accommodate the extra students. Additional funding will be made available to departments whose course enrollments are affected.

Campus housing should be plentiful, since the renovation of one large residence hall -- Unit II -- is complete. In fact, the campus anticipates being able to offer housing not only to the large freshman class, but to all transfer students for the first time ever this fall.

And since the increase in freshmen accounts for less than 2 percent of Berkeley's total student body, facilities such as the libraries and programs such as financial aid should not be significantly affected.


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