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Projections in for Minority Graduate Enrollment

By Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs
posted September 23, 1998

The percentage of underrepresented minorities starting graduate school this fall is expected to decline only slightly, according to recent figures.

Underrepresented minorities are expected to make up 9.6 percent of the new students enrolled in campus graduate programs this fall, compared to 10.3 percent last year. Actual registration figures will not be available until October, but data now available indicates the decline in the number of underrepresented minorities enrolling in graduate school.

Campus officials attribute the drop -- 230 underrepresented minorities last year and an anticipated 206 this year -- to fewer applications from this group. Despite the drop in applications, the graduate schools' acceptance rate for these minorities increased slightly.

"The figures show that Berkeley is welcoming to minority students," said Joseph Duggan, associate dean of the campus's graduate division. "We encourage minorities to apply because their presence allows for a broader diversity of viewpoints -- enhancing the graduate school experience for all of our students."

The rate at which Berkeley's graduate schools admit underrepresented minorities has remained fairly constant over the last several years. This fall's rate was 24.3 percent, up from 21.2 percent in 1997 and 23.0 percent in 1996.

More specifically, the rate at which the graduate schools admitted African-Americans increased from 21.2 percent in fall 1997 to 24.4 percent this fall; among Hispanics it increased from 21.8 percent in 1997 to 25.7 percent this fall; among Filipinos it increased from 16.6 percent in 1997 to 19.4 percent this fall; and among whites it decreased from 26.5 percent in 1997 to 24.1 percent this fall.

The figures do not include the law school, which previously released its enrollment numbers. Enrollment projections are based on documents students submit to the university indicating their plans to attend graduate school here.

The university grants graduate degrees for 104 different majors, including 91 for doctoral programs. Overall, the campus expects to enroll 2,148 students out of the 21,094 who applied for graduate school.

In deciding whom to admit, the faculty may consider grade point average, letters of recommendation, personal essays, research experience and graduate test scores. Which of these elements is considered and what weight is given to each one varies across disciplines.

Overall, whites are expected to represent 48.7 percent of the campus's new graduate students; followed by international students, making up 22.1 percent; and Asians, making up 11.4 percent. Underrepresented minorities are expected to make up 9.6 percent, and "other/unknown" students are expected to comprise 8.2 percent of the population.

Regarding the actual number of underrepresented students expected in graduate programs this fall, figures indicate that African-American enrollment will be especially hard hit, dropping from 82 students last year to 57 students anticipated this fall.

However, more Hispanics are expected to attend -- 119 this year, versus 108 last year. Filipino enrollment is expected to remain at 19, and Native American enrollment is expected to drop from 21 to 10.

Projected figures also indicate that the number of Asians is expected to drop from 253 to 245; and the number of whites from 1,158 to 1,046. Meanwhile, the number of students who classify themselves as "other" is expected to increase from 131 to 176 students, and the number of international students is expected to increase from 451 to 475.


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