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College Anyone?

by Susannah Kopecky, published

Approximately 1,500 fewer high school seniors will become freshman at University of California campuses than last year this fall.

Fewer students were admitted for Fall 2009 to the UC campuses, mainly owing to a budget crunch and fewer allotted spaces. While more than 60,000 students became first-time UC freshmen last year, fewer than 60,000 have earned that distinction for next fall.

Months ago, when budget issues throughout California came to a head, UC officials announced that fewer first-time college students would be admitted to a UC campus for the next year.

The UC state-granted funding fell short by about $450 million this year, though in an April 20 announcement that federal stimulus dollars will go towards UC campuses, the UC Office of the President notes that an additional $268 million in federal money will help bring down the UC shortfall by $13 million, to about $437 million.

Approximately three-quarters (72%) of all UC applicants were secured spaces for next fall at one or more UC campuses, according to the University of California newsroom, which marks a drop of about 3.4% from Fall 2008 admission rates. 66,265 applicants were admitted for next fall, 58,631 of which were residents of California. This year marked the most competitive for many campuses, including traditionally less competitive UC campuses, such as UC Santa Cruz (which ended up accepting 63.7% of applicant, or nearly 11% fewer applicants than the previous year) and UC Davis (which accepted 42.6% of applicants, compared to 52.4% last year), though the latter has become increasingly more competitive in recent years.

A number of campuses, such UCLA and UC Berkeley (two of the oldest UC campuses) and UC Merced actually admitted approximately the same, or even slightly more, applicants than usual. Berkeley admitted 29.5 percent of applicants. Some Berkeley students were recently in the news for allegations that minorities were being shafted by tighter admissions, though that claim was refuted by recent data, showing that of "underrepresented students," African Americans, American Indians and Chicanos/Latinos actually increased their presence on campuses, from 22.9% in 2007, to 26.9% this year, showing that "despite the reductions in admissions offers...which affected all groups... most campuses registered gains in the proportion of underrepresented students in their admitted class."

Nearly half of the UC budget for 2007-2008 (42%) was provided by "Sales, Services and Auxiliaries," according to the University of California Office of the President.

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