More Latino than white students in California have been offered admission to the state's premier public universities for the first time, officials said Friday, a milestone that reflects the diverse racial makeup of a state where Latino children represent a majority of students in public schools.
Preliminary admissions data show that 17,589 Latino students have been accepted as freshmen at one of the University of California's nine undergraduate campuses for the fall, or 29 percent of all 61,120 in-state applicants who were offered a spot. That compares to 16,378 white residents, who made up 27 percent of the admitted applicants.
Asian Americans remained the largest single ethnic group represented in the accepted freshman class, making up 36 percent of all Californians admitted. Black students received 4 percent of the admission offers.
Campaign for College Opportunity Community Affairs Director Audrey Dow called the growing share of Latino students qualifying for a UC education "a positive trend."
"It is really encouraging and emphasizes that Latinos want to go to college," Dow said. "Latino families, Latino students understand the value of an education and are doing what they need to do to be competitive and eligible for the most rigorous system in the state."
University officials said that competition to get into a UCschool remained stiff, a situation they tried to address by making room for more students. A record 86,865 students from California, out-of-state and abroad were accepted, or 58 percent of all 148,688 applicants. By comparison, the system had a 68 percent acceptance rate for Fall 2011. The new numbers are a sign of how much harder winning a spot has become.
Of the ones who got lucky in the admissions lottery this year, 25,745, or 30 percent of the accepted freshmen, are from out-of-state or are international students. The percentage of UC students who are not state residents has risen steadily in recent years as officials have tried to offset cuts in state funding with the higher tuition nonresidents pay.
Every campus except the two most prestigious — Berkeley and UCLA, which admitted fewer students than last year — accepted more international or out-of-state students for the fall.
So while the number of students admitted system-wide for the fall rose overall by 4,015 over last year, 2,984 of those offers went to non-Californians.
"I know there have been some concerns that campuses have increased the number of out-of-state and international students (and) are somehow displacing California students," said Stephen Handel, UC's associate vice president for undergraduate admissions. "And that's not true. We admit as many California applicants as we receive funding for from the state."
Even though the system has stepped up recruitment of students from outside the state, 61,120 Californians — 1,031 more than last year — still gained admission to a UCschool. Most of the growth, however, was limited to just the three campuses that accepted more applicants overall: San Diego, Riverside and Santa Cruz.