The UC Berkeley campus
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Higher Ed

UC Berkeley will increase California students, cut out-of-state ones to meet enrollment cap

The campus plans to enroll about 5,370 first-year California students both in person and online this fall, an increase of about 500 over last year.

UC Berkeley will boost the number of Californians and significantly reduce out-of-state and international students this fall as it scrambles to meet a court-ordered enrollment cap for the coming academic year just a few weeks before admission decisions are set for release.

Overall, the campus plans to enroll about 5,370 first-year California students both in-person and online this fall, an increase of about 500 over last year. They would make up about 90% of all freshmen, compared to 70% last year. Among them, 4,370 would be enrolled on campus, while 1,000 would spend fall semester in remote classes and move to in-person instruction for spring semester beginning in January 2023, the university announced Friday.

California transfer students would number 1,964 for on-campus enrollment in fall and make up about half of the 650 students who will be deferred until spring. Students who graduate this year or leave campus for study programs abroad or in other cities will free up seats for those using remote instruction or deferred enrollment in the fall.

About 400 students who would otherwise be able to enroll will not be given a seat because of the enrollment cap. Most will be graduate students, officials said.

Berkeley’s efforts to rejigger its enrollment plans was triggered by a court order to freeze its enrollment while the campus more thoroughly reviews the impact of its growth on housing, homelessness and noise. The University of California challenged the order, which came in a case filed by Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, a community group, but both an appellate court and the California Supreme Court rejected its appeal to stay the enrollment freeze.

The university initially calculated it would need to cut 3,050 seats to meet the court demand to cap enrollment at 2020 levels. But the campus now says it will need to lower on-campus enrollment by 2,629 students.

    UC Berkeley said it would also create an “expanded wait list” in case legislators are able to craft a solution by May 1, when most students select their college.
    But the university continues to express its dismay at the long-term impact of the court decision.

    The California Supreme Court declines to lift an enrollment cap on UC Berkeley, which might have to cut its incoming...

    "To be clear, the harm caused by this court decision extends beyond the students who should be offered an in-person seat in our fall 2022 class,” a campus statement said. “It impacts prospective students generally, our campus operations and the university’s ability to serve students by meeting the enrollment targets set by the state.”

    Tensions have only recently tightened in cities that are home to UC campuses throughout the state given the heightened affordability crisis. UC Santa Cruz and the city of Santa Cruz have long battled over such issues, with the question arising anew as the campus received approval of its new Long Range Development Plan, which permits the campus to grow to 28,000 students by 2040. Under the expiring 2005 plan, the campus pledged to enroll no more than 21,000 students by 2020. Unlike UC Berkeley, which has exceeded its own LRDP projection, UCSC is still under its cap, with about 18,600 students, of whom 9,300 live in campus housing.

    This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.