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UC admissions tougher this year

April 7, 2009 | 12:35 pm

The University of California has confirmed today what applicants and guidance counselors already knew first-hand: It was significantly harder to gain admission to many of the UC’s nine undergraduate campuses this year.

Mainly in response to budget-related enrollment cutbacks for the fall, the percentage of California applicants offered freshman admission by at least one UC campus dropped from 75.4% last year to 72.5% in the recent round of decisions that ended last month, according to data released today.

The biggest declines were at UC campuses in Santa Cruz, where the acceptance rate dropped from 74.3% last year to 63.7%; Davis, where it fell from 52.4% to 46.2%; and Irvine, which went from 49% to 42.8%.

On the other hand, it was somewhat easier this year for students to get into UC Riverside and UC Merced, the latter of which is the system’s newest campus and is trying to grow.

In January, the UC regents voted to reduce freshman fall enrollment by 2,300 students, or about 6%, to cope with what they said is insufficient state funding. The goal for the fall is to enroll about 33,000 California freshmen, but officials say they won't know how many applicants will accept enrollment  offers until next month.

In ethnic categories, the numbers showed slight changes from the year before. The percentage of Latinos among the overall pool of accepted applicants rose from 20.7% to 22.2%; African Americans from 3.8% to 4%; and Asian Americans from 33.6% to 34.9%. Whites dropped slightly from 34.4% to 33.1%.

Overall, 80,820 California residents -- about 1.4% more than last year -- applied for freshman admission to at least one UC campus for the coming year. In-staters usually comprise about 90% of UC undergraduates.

-- Larry Gordon