California’s Four Percent Plan Results in Record Number of Black, Hispanic Applicants at Berkeley
A record number of under-represented minorities applied to the University of California in the first year of a new program guaranteeing a spot to top-performing high school students.
UC officials said recently they don’t have enough information to declare a definite correlation, but they’re happy with the numbers, which come three years after the school dropped affirmative action.
“This is quite exciting for the university,” says Dennis Galligani, associate vice president for student academic affairs.
Overall, applications from California students for freshman admission increased from 54,146 to 58,424, an increase of 4,278 students, or 7.9 percent.
That is more than double last year’s 2.5 percent increase in applications and may be because of the new program guaranteeing eligibility to students in the top 4 percent of their class, as well as expanded state financial aid, Galligani says.
Applications from Black students went up 11.4 percent, from 2,174 to 2,421; and applications from Hispanic students increased 14.5 percent, from 7,814 to 8,950 students.
About 80 percent of students eligible under the 4 percent plan applied. “We really touched a chord,” says Galligani, who had hoped for a two-thirds application rate.
Under the 4 percent plan, which took effect for 2001 freshmen, students qualify based on UC-required courses; schools send the students’ names in to UC. This year 84 percent of public high schools complied. While 134
didn’t, UC granted an extension.
Previous research indicated that two-thirds of the estimated 10,200 students in the 4 percent pool were already eligible for UC. Officials are still analyzing the real-life pool. The 4 percent plan guarantees eligibility, not admission, but it is UC’s policy to find a place somewhere on one of its eight undergraduate campuses for all eligible students.
The bumper crop of applications was hailed by Regent Ward Connerly, who led the fight against taking race into consideration. Connerly says the numbers show that “if UC will simply go out and make these students aware of the opportunities that are available, they will apply. The naysayers just never were willing to give it a chance and they’ve been proven wrong.”
Last year, was the first time the number of under-represented minority students — Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians — admitted as freshmen on University of
California campuses surpassed, the number from 1997, the last year of affirmative action admissions. But some minority students decided not to enroll.
The political makeup of the board has changed since the 1995 vote and Regent William Bagley says he may bring repeal to the board in May. Connerly says the new application numbers undercut that effort.
“We have a record number of ‘under-represented minorities’ seeking admission to the University of California and you would have to be living on another planet not to recognize that this is an indication of their interest in attending UC,” he says.
Bagley says he’s glad outreach programs are working, but noted that even with the increase, Black applications are low, constituting about 4 percent of applications. UC figures show Blacks comprise 7 percent of California high school
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