NEWS RELEASE, 08/21/98

Fall semester at UC Berkeley begins Monday, Aug. 24, with drop in fees, new deans, more freshman seminars

By Jacqueline Frost, Public Affairs

BERKELEY -- Students arriving at the University of California, Berkeley, on Monday, Aug. 24, for the official start of the fall semester will receive a welcome break in educational fees.

For the first time in recent memory, fees for a year at UC Berkeley have declined. Fees will be $4,176 in 1998-99, down by $178, or about four percent, from a high of $4,354 last year.

"This is wonderful news for our students at all income levels," said Richard Black, director of financial aid. This is the first time Black has witnessed a decline in fees at UC Berkeley since he arrived on campus 15 years ago. In fact, he said, records of fee levels dating back to 1962 show no comparable drop.

Black credited the combined efforts of Governor Pete Wilson, the state legislature and the UC Board of Regents for the drop in fees.

An estimated 3,808 freshmen are expected to enroll for the 1998 school year. The total number of students expected to register next week is 30,550 - 22,000 undergraduate and 8,550 graduate students.

New this fall is the chance for all freshmen to take one of the campus's freshman seminars - small, interactive classes limited to 15 students each that "help make the impersonal face of Cal more personal," said Alix Schwartz, coordinator of the Freshman Seminar Program.

Students rushed to sign up for a seminar called "Let There Be Light: The History of the University of California, Berkeley" because of its teacher - Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl. The class was filled in one day.

The freshman seminars began in 1992 and are so popular that demand usually exceeds supply. But this fall, Berdahl offered $2,000 research stipends to encourage more faculty members to participate.

Students can choose from 120 seminars - a record number - that range from how to set up an archaeological dig in Egypt and the ethical implications of cloning to an overview of Chinese folk psychology and how to learn the basics of engineering through dismantling a bicycle.

The new school year begins with five new deans and a new chair on campus:

· Laura D'Andrea Tyson, professor of business administration and economics and former chief economic advisor to President Clinton, is the new dean of the Haas School of Business.

· Edward E. Penhoet, former president and chief executive officer of Chiron Corp., will serve as dean of the School of Public Health.

· Michael Nacht, an expert in U.S. national security and former dean at the University of Maryland, is dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy.

· Ralph Hexter, professor of comparative literature, is the new dean of humanities.

· Paul Licht, dean of biological sciences, has become chair of the College of Letters & Science deans.

· Kwon-Loi Shun, professor of philosophy, is dean of undergraduate advising.

Among the new students at UC Berkeley this fall is Ian Newman, age 14.

Newman, who skipped kindergarten and 5th and 10th grades, is majoring in physics. He also has congenital muscular dystrophy, a condition that keeps him in a wheelchair and unable to walk, eat or breathe on his own.

He eagerly dispels misconceptions about being disabled.

"Many people," he said, "including teachers, doctors and other professionals, think that because I'm physically disabled, I'm also mentally disabled."

The campus's Disabled Students Program helped attract Newman to campus. It is providing him with a classroom assistant, a voice-activated computer and a special dorm room.

A famous face among the student body this year is Steven Williams. He is a star of the popular MTV show "The Real World," which is described by its producers as a cross between a documentary and a soap opera.

Last year, Williams auditioned for the show on a dare from members of his UC Berkeley fraternity. He said he was selected from more than 30,000 applicants because of his unique background - he was raised by single mother in a Black Muslim household, converted to Judaism at age 15 and didn't meet his biological father until he was 17.

Williams took a semester off to do the show in Seattle. Now back on campus, he has returned to his pursuit of a business major, with a minor in African American studies. But he's no longer just a student - he can hardly walk down the street without being stopped by fans.

Fall Facts at a Glance

Total number of students expected to enroll for fall 1998: 30,550

Number of new freshman: 3,808

Number of new transfer students: 1,614

Number of undergraduates: 22,000

Number of graduate students: 8,550

Cost of fees for California residents: $4,176, including health insurance (a $178 reduction from 1997-98)

Cost of out-of-state tuition and fees: $13,750 including health insurance (a $412 increase from last year)

Additional cost, above fees and tuition, of professional schools for newly enrolled students: law and business, $6,000 a year; optometry, $3,000 a year

Cost of campus housing with 14 meals a week: from $6,925 a year in a triple room to $9,610 for a single room in a suite.

Number of students living in campus housing: more than 5,000

New Freshman by Ethnicity (based on Statements of Intent to Register)

African American: 129

American Indian: 15

Asian American: 1,582

Chicano: 194

Latino: 82

White: 1,119

Other: 48

No data: 550

International: 89

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