Admissions Data Show Decrease in Underrepresented Minority Students

Photo: UC Berkeley student group programs, like those at RAZA Recruitment and Retention Center, have been forced to reduce outreach to underrepresented minorities due to budget cuts.
Kevin Hahn/Photo
UC Berkeley student group programs, like those at RAZA Recruitment and Retention Center, have been forced to reduce outreach to underrepresented minorities due to budget cuts.

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With the exception of Native Americans, fewer minority group students were admitted to UC Berkeley last month due to decreased funding for outreach programs and an increase in nonresident student admissions this year.

Admissions data show 1,830 underrepresented minorities were admitted to the campus this year, down from 1,945 in 2008 and 2,025 in 2009. The data showed an increase in Latinos, a decrease in Caucasians and a small increase in Asian Americans. The admissions rate for Black students has remained relatively stable.

The university defines an underrepresented minority as any racial group whose UC-eligible high school graduates are less than 12.5 percent of its senior population, according to Nina Robinson, director of student policy and external affairs in the UC Office of the President.

Despite systemwide trends, UC Berkeley's increase in nonresident students-which reduced enrollment targets for in-state students-resulted in decreased numbers of underrepresented California resident students, said Walter Robinson, assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions.

"I'd say that most of our diversity is in our California applicant pool," Walter Robinson said. "The nonresident students are typically not a very diverse group."

He said campus outreach programs in California were scaled back due to budget cuts, which caused the Southern California admissions office to close and lose five of its six employees.

"Now I have a moderate presence (in Southern California) where 60 to 70 percent of our applicants come from," Walter Robinson said.

He added that he and his staff visited 100 high schools in 2009, down from 400 in 2007 and 200 in 2008.

"The budget challenges made it difficult for me to do outreach so we did area receptions," he said. "Most of (the high school visits) were day trips."

Student group-initiated programs on campus, like those at the RAZA Recruitment and Retention Center, have also reduced outreach programs due to decreased funding.

A 30 percent cut to the center's funding this year led to the elimination of some retention events and the implementation of additional fundraisers, according Hector Gutierrez , recruitment coordinator for the center.

"Even with the budget cuts, RAZA brought 300 plus students (to Senior Weekend at the campus)," said Horacio Corona, outreach coordinator for the center.

Despite these efforts to maintain outreach, Walter Robinson said the number of underrepresented minorities will likely continue to drop slightly or remain stagnant if state funding levels remain low.

"Hopefully, one day the state of California will fund us at a level where we can pursue the diversity that's in our state," Walter Robinson said.


Contact Hannah Moulthrop at [email protected]

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