UC Admits Record Number of Applicants

    The number of in-state students admitted to the Fall 2008
    class of the UC system increased for the fourth straight year to 60,008,
    representing a 4.7-percent hike over last year’s admissions and the largest
    class to date, according to a report released this week by the UC Office of the
    President. At UCSD, Fall Quarter freshmen admissions among in-state applicants
    rose by 1.5 percent to 16,992 students.

    Additionally, the number of black and Chicano/Latino
    resident students admitted systemwide for the fall increased by 11.3 percent
    and 16 percent, leading to 2,305 and 12,432 admitted students from each
    underrepresented group, respectively.

    “We’re pleased there was an increase in the admissions of
    Chicano, Latino and African-American students,” said UCOP spokesman Ricardo
    Vázquez. “That said, [those] students continue to be underrepresented at the
    university. It’s still not reflective of the state itself.”

    UCSD posted gains similar to the systemwide statistics in
    Chicano and Latino admissions with an 11.5-percent increase to 2,525 students.
    However, campus admissions saw a dip in black admits for the first time since
    2004, accepting 307 black in-state students for fall 2008, down 12.3 percent
    from last year’s 350, according to the report.

    “We are very disappointed,” Assistant Vice Chancellor of
    Admissions and Enrollment Services Mae Brown said of the decrease in black
    admitted students. “Our primary goal at this point is to continue to work hard
    to encourage students to accept our offers of admission.”

    Brown said that the “slight decline” in the number of black
    students admitted to UCSD could be caused in part by the higher level of
    selectiveness exercised by the campus in the face of an increasingly large
    applicant pool.

    “We certainly will do a lot of analysis to see where we saw
    decreases in the admission of African-American students,” she said.

    UCSD’s acceptance rate among in-state freshmen applicants
    fell from 41.1 percent to 40.2 percent this year, a trend that Brown said she
    expects will continue as strong academic programs and faculty bolster UCSD’s
    reputation.

    The increase in admissions to the UC system comes at a time
    when its funding outlook is uncertain. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2008-09
    budget proposal fell $417 million short of what the UC Board of Regents
    requested to support the 10-campus system for the next fiscal year, but the system
    has continued “to offer a space to every California resident applicant who is
    UC-eligible,” according to the report.

    “The cuts proposed by the governor are potentially
    devastating,” said Vázquez, adding that students would encounter reduced
    services and larger class sizes as a result. The proposed cuts would also
    impact the university’s ability to live up to its “historical promise” of
    offering admission to every qualified California
    resident.

    “Enrolling additional students without additional funding is
    not sustainable in the long run, so it clearly will … bring pressure on next
    year’s admissions,” he said.

    Confronted with both increasing enrollment and potentially
    decreasing state funds, Vázquez said that “one thing the university will not do
    is lower our standards.”

    Brown echoed Vázquez’s concern. “If there’s not a change [in
    the proposed budget] then the campuses and the system will have to look very
    carefully at enrollment planning,” she said.

    Brown also speculated that this year’s economic downturn could
    persuade more admitted students to enroll at selective public institutions like
    UCSD instead of more expensive private universities.

    A larger-than-expected level of new student enrollment
    throughout the UC system could add to the system’s financial difficulties of
    the system, which experienced overenrollment at some campuses last fall.

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