By offering online courses, UC Berkeley will circumvent the enrollment freeze

By enrolling some students online and juggling who can show up on campus in the fall, Cal has found a workaround to the mandatory enrollment freeze. Credit: Kelly Sullivan

UC Berkeley will be able to offer admission to nearly the same number of freshmen and transfer students under the court-imposed enrollment cap as it did this year by enrolling some students in online and juggling who can show up on campus in the fall, he announced Friday, a day after the California Supreme Court denied the university’s request to lift the enrollment freeze.

Students will receive letters indicating whether they are admitted for fall in-person learning, fall distance learning, or delayed in-person learning until January 2023.

UC Berkeley, however, will send out fewer admission letters for graduate students, reducing enrollment by about 400, said Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor for communications and public affairs. The cuts will come primarily from applicants to UC Berkeley’s graduate professional schools, including the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Law and Berkeley Engineering.

UC Berkeley previously announced it would have to turn down up to 5,100 applicants to comply with a court order to freeze enrollment at 2020-21 levels. The dramatic downward revision to the number of applicants he will have to turn down came after Cal conducted a thorough review of his enrollment plan, Mogulof said.

UC Berkeley aims to enroll 6,334 California residents and about 641 out-of-state students for the fall, according to a statement. (Throughout the entire 2022-23 year, Cal will enroll about 9,100, Mogulof said.) But to keep on-campus numbers low enough to comply with the court order, only 4,370 California resident freshmen and 509 out-of-state students will be allowed to set foot on campus. . The rest will be asked to take the first semester remotely or postpone the start of the school year until January 2023. About 90% of new students will be from California, according to the university.

Specifically, UC Berkeley believes it can mitigate the impact of freezing by:

  • Enroll over 1,000 newly admitted students in virtual classrooms for the fall semester. After that, they can come to campus.
  • Delay the admission of approximately 650 transfer students from fall 2022 to January 2023.
  • Denying admission to more than 400 students, mostly graduate students, who would otherwise have been admitted except for the enrollment cap.

UC Berkeley said about 200 currently enrolled students will be off campus in the fall at programs like Cal in the Capitol in Sacramento and UCDC in Washington DC. This will free up space. UC Berkeley will also encourage students who take longer than four or five years to graduate to hurry up and complete their studies, according to the release.

On Feb. 14, after the California Court of Appeals denied UC Berkeley’s request to stay a lower court’s decision to limit enrollment, officials said the university would make 5,100 offers less to reduce the fall 2022 class of 3,050 students. More students are offered places than they accept, a concept known as yield.

Now, UC Berkeley says it only needs to reduce total in-person fall enrollment by 2,629 students. Cal officials cautioned that the numbers are approximate.

“The ruling applies only to students physically present on the Berkeley campus,” Cal’s statement said. “As a result, the goal of our new mitigation strategy is to provide as many California undergraduates as possible with an offer of in-person admission in the fall and to provide selected undergraduates with remaining the possibility of taking courses entirely remotely for the first semester and/or delaying their registration for one semester. Each December, many students graduate at the end of the fall semester, freeing up space for in-person enrollment during the spring semester that begins in January.

“With all of our mitigation strategies in place, the number of freshmen and transfer students receiving offers should be similar to our numbers that were in place prior to the court-ordered reduction in enrollment…therefore, offers Undergraduate admissions will be very close to what was originally planned,” university officials said in a statement.

UC Berkeley students relax on campus on March 1, 2022. Credit: Kelly Sullivan

The news that fewer students would be affected by the enrollment freeze was so new that members of the city council contacted by Berkeleyside had not heard of it.

“The entire board was concerned about the ripple effects (of the enrollment cap) not just in Berkeley but in the state of California,” said board member Lori Droste. “Any indication that fewer students will be affected is positive. But any reduction in enrollment is not a good thing.

UC Berkeley must send acceptance decisions by March 24. A record number of students, more than 128,100, have applied to be accepted into the fall 2022 freshman class. That’s a 13% increase from last year’s record number, according to the ‘university.

UC Berkeley will maintain a longer-than-normal waiting list for admission in case the legislature takes action on the enrollment issue, the statement said.

Alameda County Judge Brad Seligman ordered UC Berkeley in August to freeze enrollment at its 2020-21 levels of about 42,347 students. Currently, 45,057 are registered.

Seligman ordered the cap as part of a lawsuit brought by Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods against UC Berkeley. Save Berkeley Neighborhoods said Cal has not provided enough housing for students, so they are moving into residential neighborhoods, increasing noise, congestion and litter and evicting low-income residents.

The neighborhood group sued the university in 2019, claiming it failed to comply with environmental laws when it wrote a supplemental environmental impact report to examine a more than 30% increase in enrollment from 2005 to 2019. Cal had looked at the impacts of the increase on campus, but not on the city of Berkeley. He had conducted the supplemental EIR as part of an EIR to examine the impacts of building a new facility for the Goldman School of Public Policy as well as a faculty housing complex on Hearst Avenue.