UC Berkeley might cut student admissions, students react

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 Defne Onal managing editor

The University of California, Berkeley may have to reject thousands of students who would otherwise have been offered admission for fall 2022 because of an appellate court ruling capping the university’s enrollment at 2020-2021 levels. 

UC Berkeley, which is already known as one of the state’s most selective universities,  would have at least 3,050 fewer seats for incoming freshmen than it had planned for the fall of 2022 if its enrollment is capped. In a typical year, the university accepts about 21,000 first-year students and 9,500 of them enroll.

On Feb. 14, students received an email from UC Berkeley informing their applicants about the decision to cap numbers. The decision was made because of a legal battle with a   resident’s group, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, that accused the university of failing to provide enough housing to students while admitting a high number of applicants, many of whom are out-of-state and international students. 

“I think that the lawsuit makes the admissions this year unfair because a lot of students who would have been qualified to go to UC Berkeley would now have to be rejected, not because they were not qualified enough, but because there’s no space for them,” senior Aghigh Banitaba said. “Basically, the acceptance [rate] of UC Berkeley would be similar to a    private institution, but the school itself hasn’t changed.” 

Similar to Banitaba, the announcement worries senior Warren Jacobson, who thinks his and others’ chances of getting into UC Berkeley shrunk.  

“Any University of California college has been a big goal of mine. The University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley have been put on the pedestal above all the others. It is a little disheartening to hear that the already competitive nature of Berkeley admissions has increased due to this. It has become more of a reach school than it already was,” Jacobson said. 

Since 2005, UC Berkeley has admitted 14,000 students but provided only 1,600 beds. 

“I understand why the court passed this ruling because even I know about Berkeley’s horrible housing and how there aren’t enough dorms for all the people there,” senior Temmie Park said. “At the same time, UC Berkeley’s a pretty popular school that a lot of students want to go to. It’s still a big dream for a lot of people. It was disappointing that they had to do that.” 

Banitaba, however, does not believe that decreasing the enrollment rate was the solution. 

“If UC Berkeley has been known to accept a lot of students that it doesn’t have enough housing for, the better solution would be just to expand housing,” Banitaba said. 

Moreover, Banitaba, who lists UC Berkeley as one of her top-choice schools, believes the credibility of the school still remains high. 

“It seemed that the school also felt that the court case created an unfair situation for applicants this year,” Banitaba said. “I don’t think that the court case decreases the credibility of the institution because [it] doesn’t change the quality of the education that UC Berkeley offers.”

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