NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 16, 2006

The University of California-Berkeley's new chancellor, Robert Birgeneau has called for greater ethnic diversity at his highly ranked university campus. However, the task of enrolling more underrepresented minorities will be formidable, says John Bunzel of the Hoover Institution.


  • In 2004, UC campuses admitted nearly 2,200 fewer applicants with scores of 1,000 or below on the SAT, a drop of 26.6 percent from the year before.
  • At UC Berkeley, the campus offered admission to 216 students with SAT scores of 1,000 or below, down from 313 in 2003.
  • The distressing fact is that black and Latino students continue to be admitted in numbers far lower than their share of the state's college-age population.
  • In 2003, Latinos accounted for 34.2 percent and blacks for 7.3 percent of the state's graduating high school seniors; the two groups apply and are admitted at half those rates at UC schools.

Unless necessary steps are taken to interrupt the cycle of high minority failure rates in our public schools, the pool of well-qualified minority students whom Chancellor Birgeneau is looking for to further diversify the campus -- and who will also graduate at substantially higher rates than they did in the past -- may be hard to find, says Bunzel.

Source: John H. Bunzel, "Diversity: The Impossible Dream?" Hoover Digest, Fall 2005, Hoover Institution.


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