UC System Welcomes Most Diverse Class in History

The University of California has enrolled the most diverse class of California freshmen and transfer students in its history for the Fall Quarter 2016. According to data posted by the UC Office of the President last week, underrepresented minorities such as Latinos, African-Americans and American Indians represent 38 percent of incoming freshmen and transfer students.

The UC Board of Regents held discussions over the changing student demographic at UCLA on Sept. 15, during which UC President Janet Napolitano met with the UC Regents and discussed the importance of enrolling students with more diverse backgrounds at the UC campuses.

“The changing demographics of the state of California … will significantly impact the future enrollment growth and diversity at [the UC system],” Napolitano said. “[The] future UC students should have access to the same opportunities and outcomes that students today possess.”

UC officials gave presentations on how the demographic changes are currently affecting UC campuses. For example, UCLA boosted its efforts to accept more African-American students, which brought the total enrollment of African-American students to 6.9 percents of the incoming class.

UC Academic Senate Chairman James Chalfant spoke with the UCSD Guardian about how the briefings highlighted the UC system’s ongoing effort to surpass what Napolitano has called “an aggressive and audacious goal” of accepting more California students — as agreed in a budget deal made with Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature.

“[University of California] has committed to increases in the enrollment of California residents … by more than 5,000 this year and another 5,000 over the next two years,” Oakley said. “When the state supports the University with enrollment funding, [the UC system] is able to respond in ways that keep up with the growing number of increasingly diverse and academically accomplished Californians who wish to earn a UC degree.”

UCOP Media Communications Specialist Claire Doan told the Guardian that the UC system is involved in trying to enroll more Californian students in order to meet the goal through the Achieve UC program and in the University’s partnership with community colleges.

“Through our Achieve UC program, the University has expanded outreach efforts to reach tens of thousands more students through dozens of additional events such as career fairs, churches and other venues,” Doan said. “We continue to reach out to schools and communities throughout the state to make sure students — and their parents — know we welcome everyone who meets UC admission requirements.”

During the briefings, officials from UC campuses such as UCLA and UC Irvine presented financial uncertainties as one of the biggest concerns when dealing with the changing student demographic. Chalfant also gave his thoughts on how out-of-state and international students provide much-needed revenue and talents needed to enrich the education of California students. Chalfant later spoke to the Guardian in order to elaborate on his stance.

“[The UC system] will find a way to enroll as many eligible California residents as are funded by the state, but it’s no longer possible to think of our core funds as consisting only of in-state tuition and funding from the state,” Chalfant said. “Nonresident tuition has become a very large, third source of funding.”

It is expected that the UC campuses will further increase in diversity over the next two decades as the state of California’s population rises by 10 million to reach 47.2 million by 2040.