Incoming Freshman Class to Be Largest Yet

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UC Berkeley officials announced yesterday that the incoming Fall 2008 class will be the campus' largest yet, making this the tenth-straight year of record enrollment.

UC Berkeley has received 4,447 Statements of Intent to Register from incoming freshmen. The UC system received 39,212 in total.

"People really value a UC education," said UC Office of the President spokesperson Ricardo Vasquez, pointing to the 1,500 more students that have enrolled at a UC campus this fall compared to last year.

Greg Dubrow, UC Berkeley director of analysis, policy and planning, said he sees the number of expected matriculants as proof of the university's academic excellence.

"(UC) Berkeley is a very attractive option to students who recognize it as the best public school in the world," he said.

University officials said these record-breaking enrollment rates could decline in the future due to the UC system's budget woes. Vasquez said that while the university does not currently have the budget to support enrollment growth for the next year, it has not finalized any changes for future enrollment.

"The university's budget situation is very severe ... depending on the outcome of this year's budget, the university will re-evaluate enrollment options for next year," he said.

Current projections for next year's high school graduating class size show that admissions numbers are expected to remain constant, Vasquez said.

University officials also said they did not think the generous financial aid packages many elite private universities have begun offering in recent years will significantly decrease matriculation.

"Many of the (Ivy League colleges) with the huge endowments have been able to do really strong things to their financial aid programs," said UC Berkeley Associate Director of Financial Aid Karen Rice.

But she said students base their choice of which university to attend on more than just the cost.

"Students have to look at their choices and choose the right fit for them ... financial aid programs are supposed to just level the playing field so that students can do that," she said.

Given historical trends, she said she is confident that UC Berkeley will continue to attract students from a multitude of backgrounds.

"More students receive Pell Grants at (UC) Berkeley than the entire Ivy League combined," she said.


Contact Joseph Bui at [email protected]

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