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California and the West

UC to Offer Admission to 2,000 Initially Rejected

Education: Qualified students will be referred to less popular campuses. Effect on class' racial makeup unknown.

April 03, 1998|KENNETH R. WEISS | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

The University of California announced Thursday that it will offer admission to at least 2,000 students who met all of the university's eligibility requirements but were squeezed out in the competition for any of the UC campuses where they applied.

UC officials have yet to determine the ethnic breakdown of the students who will be referred to the system's less popular campuses. For that reason, officials said, they could not say if the additional students would substantially alter the decline in the number of blacks and Latinos selected as part of the first freshman class in the post-affirmative action era.

Because the newly accepted students would be sent primarily to the system's less popular campuses, however, the change would not affect the sharp decline in the number of blacks and Latinos accepted at UCLA and Berkeley.

Nonetheless, UC officials took heart in new admissions figures released Thursday showing that blacks and Latinos systemwide did not fare as badly as they had at the university's most competitive campuses.

"We are all hopeful that things will turn out better than expected," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. But he cautioned that the figures are only an initial indication of the makeup of the fall's freshman class, given that most students now must select among multiple offers--even from private universities offering scholarships.

Tallying up students accepted by at least one UC campus, officials determined that the number of African Americans dropped by 17.6% this year--far less than the 66% drop at UC Berkeley, or the 43% decline at UCLA.

The number of Latinos fell by about 7% systemwide, compared with the 53% drop at Berkeley and 33% decline at UCLA.

The reason is that declines measured at Berkeley and UCLA were partially offset by gains at UC Santa Cruz, which offered spots to 7.4% more Latinos than last year, and UC Riverside, which extended offers to 42% more blacks.

While Berkeley accepted only 27% of all its applicants and UCLA took 33%, the UC system overall extended offers to 73% of those who applied--44,393 prospective freshmen out of 60,912 total applicants.

The Latino acceptance rate was nearly the same as the average, with almost 70% of the 7,616 Latino applicants accepted to at least one UC campus.

Blacks did less well: Admission to at least one campus was offered to 1,243 African Americans, 54% of the 2,302 black applicants.

Prospective freshmen, on average, applied to three UC campuses by checking off boxes on the application form used by all UC campuses.

Of the students who applied, roughly 14,000 simply failed to meet UC admissions standards. But UC officials estimate that at least 2,000 applicants did meet the standards, which cover grade-point averages, SAT scores and completion of college-prep courses, and nonetheless did not win acceptance to any of their chosen campuses.

So UC officials now plan to find spots for these qualified students at six of the campuses--UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and UC San Diego--and issue letters offering admission by mid-April. They said they would not be able to offer any spots at the most oversubscribed campuses, UC Berkeley and UCLA.

Although this may be greeted as wonderful news by some students, UC officials note that it may also come as a surprise. For the most part, these qualified students have received nothing but rejection letters, which have not mentioned that the university will follow up with admission to another campus.

"It's terrible," said Atkinson of the way the process plays out for qualified students with a fistful of rejections. Atkinson said he will try to change the system next year, so that all campuses issue their letters "in one shot," so that all qualified students will end up with at least one acceptance letter amid the rejections.

"We have to change our ways," Atkinson said. "This is too tortuous and too difficult for families."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

UC Admissions

The number of African Americans and Latinos accepted by at least one University of California campus dropped this year, as officials picked the first freshman class in the post-affirmative action era. The number of Asian Americans and whites actually grew, but that growth was masked by a surge of applicants who declined to state their ethnicity. Officials say at least 80% who offered no ethnic data are whites or Asian Americans.

*--*

1997 1998 % Change American Indian 336 318 -5.4% African American 1,509 1,243 -17.6% Latino 5,685 5,294 -6.9% Asian American 14,421 14,427 0.0% White 17,680 16,109 -8.9% Declined to state 2,181 6,846 214% Other 1,051 656 -37.5% Total 42,863 44,393 3.6%

*--*

Source: University of California

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