UC–Berkeley May Slash Undergraduate Enrollment by One-Third

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
February 17, 2022Updated: February 22, 2022

University of California–Berkeley may be forced to reduce its incoming fall 2022 undergraduate enrollment by about one-third, resulting in a $57 million loss in tuition, the university announced on Feb. 14.

A Feb. 10 court order requires UC Berkeley to cut 3,050 spots for incoming undergraduate students—matching 2020–2021 enrollment levels of 42,347 students. The university appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court on Monday.

“This court-mandated decrease in enrollment would be a tragic outcome for thousands of students who have worked incredibly hard to gain admission to Berkeley,” reads a university statement by Chancellor Carol Christ and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Catherine Koshland.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Berkeley experienced “abnormally low enrollment” in the 2020–21 school year, according to the university, as many students chose to take a gap year or semester.

UC Berkeley argued that the court ruling would have a “devastating impact” on prospective students as the university will need to reduce by at least 5,100 undergraduate admission offers—to account for the students who decline the acceptance—to meet the enrollment target.

The school also indicated that it is too late to reduce graduate student enrollment as the admission offers have been sent out weeks ago.

The court order follows a lawsuit filed by community group Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, arguing that the university’s growing enrollment is harming the city.

“These additional students have had a severe impact on our community and have forced out many long-term residents from our neighborhoods,” according to Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods’ website.

The major impact of enrollment increases includes displacement of low-income renters, growing homelessness, poor environmental quality, according to Phil Bokovoy, President of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods.

While the court order to freeze university enrollment may seem to be a win for Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, for the university’s incoming undergraduate applicants, it could mean an uncertain future.

“It made my Valentine’s Day a little more unbearable than it already was. I found myself feeling under a lot more stress,” Maedeline Salazar said. “I honestly have no words other than my dream school has now been pushed further out of reach.”

Salazar, a senior student at South Torrance High School, told The Epoch Times that UC Berkeley has always been her dream school and cutting down the enrollment will undoubtedly diminish her chance of getting admitted.

“Concerning. The decision is too disruptive. Need to take students with most being CA residents into consideration,” a parent posted on College Confidential, an admission discussion forum.

Many people have also suggested that the best solution for UC Berkeley to adopt is to reduce the out of state and international students.

“Cut the out of state and international down to 3 percent like Texas,” Eric Chou posted on the forum.

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